Seton Hill volleyball places second at WVIAC tournament
College Football Videos
As Wheeling Jesuit's players celebrated the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women's volleyball tournament championship across the net on Saturday, Christina Donahoe looked up into the stands.
The bleachers at the Eddie King Gymnasium on the campus of the University of Charleston had a large contingent of Seton Hill fans — as the Griffins regularly had for matches all season long.
The only senior on a Seton Hill team that had won 15 of 16 heading into that 3-0 loss to Wheeling Jesuit that ended its season, Donahoe took a moment to reflect.
“I looked up into the stands and I saw my parents, and it was just tough to see them and know they won't be able to come to my games anymore and realizing that I won't be playing anymore,” the Greensburg Central Catholic alumnus said. “The fact I was the only senior, I really had no one to share it with, which was kind of tough.
“But losing in finals, it doesn't really get much better than that.”
Seton Hill (22-12) completed a season in which it made the finals of the WVIAC for the first time, held its first NCAA Division II regional ranking and led the nation in blocks per set.
The best part might just be that the Griffins had a heavy freshman and sophomore influence. That suggests they will be even better in the coming years as the program moves into the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
“As well as we did last year, we're looking forward to next year,” longtime coach Rick Hall said. “We're going to still be a little young, but we'll be seasoned so we're pretty excited.”
Among the standouts who were in their first or second season of college volleyball include middle blocker Shelby Kyllo, middle hitter Corrine Gahagen and outside hitter Abigail Malsch.
Gahagen, a sophomore, was selected as first-team All-WVIAC. Kyllo was named WVIAC freshman of the year, and Kyllo and Malsch were on the conference's all-freshman team. Kyllo led the WVIAC with 1.57 blocks per set, which ranked second in NCAA Division II.
Gahagen, Kyllo and freshman libero Lauren Teed were on the WVIAC all-tournament team.
Sophomore front row player Larissa Santangelo, sophomore setter Courtney Field, junior defensive specialist Katie Bloomgren and junior setter Kelsey Profio are other starters who will return next year. Junior middle/outside Chelsey Regovich and sophomore Alexis Cerminara “played like seniors,” Hall said, and figure to improve even more.
It was Donahoe, however, who set the example for everyone.
“Quite simply, she may be one of the best quote-unquote athletes I've ever coached,” Hall said. “She's very physically gifted and a very strong girl, but her leadership this year helped us out tremendously.”
The successful senior season was all the more gratifying for Donahoe because she was healthy for the first time in her college career. A lifelong sufferer of migraines, she was diagnosed with vertigo after last season. The illness severely limited her during her junior season.
“Fortunately for us this year she didn't have any problems, and she was the girl all the younger girls respected,” Hall said. “She didn't have some of the stats, but that's because she did all the dirty work that every team needs done to be successful. She's that kind of player and that kind of person.”
Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Slippery Rock halts late rally, advances to D-II quarterfinals
- IUP can’t hold 10-point lead, loses D-II playoff game to Shepherd
- District Game of the Week: Assumption at Slippery Rock
- District college roundup: Slippery Rock wins 1st NCAA playoff game since 1998
- Plum's Ellis, Kondis fare well for Mercyhurst football team