MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – The potential is there for Penn State Harrisburg's women's volleyball team to have a memorable 2019 season. After two weeks of preseason activity, it's finally time to take the court. The Lions tip off their 2019 campaign on Friday evening, August 30 when they travel to Moravian for this weekend's Greyhound Premiere Invitational. Before the Blue & White gets things rolling, here's a refresher on the program heading into the season.
Look Who's Back
Penn State Harrisburg returns a talented trio of seniors in Brittany Ebaugh, Alexis Imler and Katelyn Kreider this fall. Ebaugh is already the program's all-time leader in kills and she looks poised to have another big year. Imler and Kreider provide valuable versatility, with the former seemingly ready to take over the role of setter full time and the latter capable of slotting in as a defensive specialist, hitter and/or libero. They're joined by the team's lone junior in Melanie Sheaffer. The hitter is a top breakout candidate this year after earning more responsibility during a promising sophomore campaign in 2018. A year of experience should pay dividends for sophomores Cheyanna Buckingham, Corrinne Cook, Jewel Crumbley and Megan Hamm, as the group seems ready to take the next step following their rookie outings a year ago.
The Lions welcome five freshmen to the program this year, three of whom join the Blue & White from out of state. New Jersey native Alexa Henry has experience as a middle blocker and right side, North Carolina's Alyssa Snyder gives the team another setter and Virginian Megan Morris is a welcome addition as a defensive specialist. Eastern York grad Olivia Koicuba will join Morris on defense and Anna Ruff, a State College, Pa. native, adds valuable size to head coach Angela Burkett's rotation.
After six years competing as a member of the CAC, Penn State Harrisburg returns to the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) this fall. The Lions will compete as a member of the NEAC for the first time since the 2012-13 athletic season, joining Cazenovia, Gallaudet, Keuka, Lancaster Bible, Morrisville State, Penn College, Penn State Abington, Penn State Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Poly and Wells in the 12-team league.
Circle the Date
Sept. 7 – Tri-match vs. Moravian, Penn State Altoona 11 a.m., 3 p.m.
After opening the season at the Greyhound Premiere Invitational on August 30, the Lions face Moravian for the second time in a week, this time for the team's home opener at the Capital Union Building in early September. Penn State Harrisburg will close out their first of three home tri-matches this season with a contest against Penn State Altoona later in the day.
Oct. 19 – at Morrisville State, 12 p.m.
The NEAC's best from a year ago provides Penn State Harrisburg with a great road test in mid-October. The Lions will make the trip north to compete with a Mustangs team that won 24 matches, finished with an 8-1 mark in conference play and won a conference championship before bowing out in the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Tournament last fall.
Oct. 31 – vs. Lycoming, 7 p.m.
This Halloween matchup serves as Penn State Harrisburg's 2019 home finale and senior night. In addition to witnessing a final non-conference outing before a potential postseason push, the Blue & White faithful will get the chance to honor Brittany Ebaugh, Alexis Imler and Katelyn Kreider at least one last time.
The Lions open the 2019 campaign when they take on Moravian in their first outing of the Greyhound Premiere Invitational on Friday evening, August 30. First serve is set for 4 p.m.