Young Volleyball Team Ready For New Challenges

Release Date:
August 15, 2006
The Office of Sports Information
(716) 649-7900 ext. 333

2006 Season Preview

HAMBURG, NY – The Hilbert College women’s volleyball team hopes to build on lessons learned from last fall as a returning cast of six upperclassmen join five freshmen to formulate the Hawks 2006 roster. After arriving on campus last fall, second-year head coach Tim Clauss is looking for improvements from a young team that finished last season at 1-26. With his first recruiting class in place, Clauss looks to build a more complete volleyball program, which he feels will improve throughout the 2006 campaign.

“This year’s group has potential to become a very solid team. We hope to improve on our ball control from last year, while still establishing a physical presence at the net”, said Clauss. “I expect that we will become a better team as the season plays out, laying the foundation for a more successful program in the future”.

Junior setter and team captain Laura Stranc (West Seneca, NY/West Seneca West) will need to contribute both on, and off of the court where she finished last year with a team high 491 assists. Her leadership will be counted on in unifying a still very inexperienced group. She is supported by returning sophomores Desiree Miller (Cheektowaga, NY/West Seneca East), Ashton Vertalino (Hamburg, NY/Hamburg), Kristy Gonciarz (Cheektowaga, NY/Maryvale), and Rachel Edwards (Westfield, NY/Westfield), as well as senior Stephanie Salada (Perry, NY/Perry Central). Miller led the 2005 squad with 127 kills, while Gonciarz and Vertalino contributed with 32 blocks and 231 digs, respectively.

“I believe that our returning players will set a great example for the newcomers, providing them with a very team oriented atmosphere”, mentioned Clauss.

Rounding out the team is a freshmen class comprised of five players, each of whom brings their own unique skills to the program. “This year’s freshmen will be looked upon to provide the floor defense, ball control, and general scrappiness that we lacked last year”, added Clauss. “They will make us a more complete team and be counted on immediately.

The 2006 women’s volleyball season opens on the road Friday, September 1st at local rival D'Youville College in the Nickel City Tournament. The Hawks will be looking for their first Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) win in the Clauss-era on September 23rd when Hilbert hosts the University of Pitt-Greensburg.

Hilbert College, located in suburban Hamburg, N.Y., south of Buffalo, is a private four-year college founded in 1957 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition. With nearly 1,100 students, Hilbert is a dynamic Western New York college that offers career-focused majors, including one of the top criminal justice programs in the region, and more than 50 minors and concentrations. The college’s engaging, student-centered campus community offers numerous leadership, internship, and service learning opportunities from which students launch successful careers while making positive changes in their communities. The Hilbert Blueprint promotes a well-rounded student experience over four years – starting with the Foundations Seminar in the freshman year, followed by Sophomore Service, Junior Symposium, and culminating with the Senior Capstone. Hilbert has expanded its academic offerings with the college’s first graduate programs and new Accelerated Degree Programs geared to adult learners.