Various Seton Hill University volleyball players have found success this season, including many first-year members of the team.
Freshman Viktoria Farian was named PSAC Southwest Division Athlete of the Week for the second consecutive week in a row on Oct. 10. According to the SHU athletic website, this was the first time a SHU athlete received this recognition in two back-to-back weeks.
“I was surprised because I don’t really look at my stats all the time, but I thought that I brought whatever I could bring,” said Farian, who plays outside hitter and is a biology major. “Winning it twice in a row shocked me, but I was really happy about it and proud of myself for it.”
At Edinboro University on Oct. 6, Farian had 14 kills and 10 digs, and at Slippery Rock University on Oct. 7, she had 17 kills and 10 digs.
“It usually takes a year or two to get acclimated to the college game,” said Richard Hall, head coach of the women’s volleyball team. “Viktoria has come in and just not missed a step. We expected that and we were pleasantly surprised that that happened.”
“Personally, coming in as a freshman, I got really nervous in the beginning and it was hard to adjust to a team I had never played on before, but throughout the season, I think I have been playing really well,” Farian said.
The volleyball team was recently defeated by University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown on Oct. 28, which puts the team at 18-5 overall in their season and 10-3 in PSAC play, as of Nov. 1.
“Season is going pretty well and we are all meshing really well,” said Leah Bisignani, a junior biology major who plays middle hitter. She said it was not a perfect season, and “there is still some stuff we need to work on, but we are pulling out some big ones.”
“Our record is really good this year and we plan to make it better,” said Farian.
Bisignani and Farian said that the team’s goal at the beginning of the year was to win the PSAC conference.
“My goal is to get to the playoffs so that we have the opportunity to be conference champions and then if we have a chance, ultimately I think we would all like to get to the NCAA tournament,” said Hall. “We are just getting into the real serious part of the schedule. We will see by the end of these next two weeks where we stand.”
The team lost two seniors last year, but gained five freshmen recruits this year.
“The starters are close,” Hall said. “A lot of these kids on the team that are not starting here would be starting at other programs. That is just how good they are.”
“We are constantly improving and working hard,” said Farian. “I don’t think we have even reached our peak yet, which is good, especially since we are ten games away from playoffs and we’re still growing.”
Bisignani was named PSAC Southwest Division Athlete of the Week, and twice this season was named Seton Hill Athlete of the Week. According to the Seton Hill athletic website, Bisignani had a career high of 21 kills against Indiana University of Pennsylvania and she is currently second in the PSAC hitting percentage with a .343.
“I have always seen a bunch of other athletes get it on campus, so it was always in the back of your head, but we do not get acknowledged without our teammates, so that’s pretty important,” Bisignani said. “I have been really happy with how I have been playing. I need to make serves, but overall it has been solid.”
Freshman Sidney Chapman also won Seton Hill Athlete of the Week this year. According to the Seton Hill athletic website, Chapman had 13 kills against IUP and she had seven kills and 10 digs against Clarion University to help win their match.
“We knew coming in that we had a really good recruit along with the other kids that we recruited this year,” Hall said. “The team atmosphere is very cohesive and I think that lends to a winning attitude and even in defeat, they are still one basic unit.”
Farian said that the volleyball team works really well together and that on and off the court they do everything as a team.
“I think the fact that their academic scores and standings are so good, that helps with the cohesion on the team and how they end up playing the game,” Hall said.
The team’s next match, tomorrow at 7 p.m., is at home against Millersville University and is also senior day. The team’s final match on Nov. 11 is at IUP. If the volleyball team makes it to the PSAC tournament, then they will start their first game on Nov. 14.