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Penn College Women Seek Volleyball Championship Repeat

With nine returning players, including the co-most valuable players from last year’s championship team, things are looking good for the Pennsylvania College of Technology women’s volleyball team.

Maria McNett, a junior from Canton, and Maria Bova, a sophomore from Bethlehem, helped the Lady Wildcats to a 21-2 record a year ago − the best season ever in Penn College history − including winning the Commonwealth Campus Athletic Conference crown.

This year, the CCAC has become the Penn State University Athletic Conference, but coach Bambi Hawkins, in her sixth season, said her veterans already are talking about winning another championship.

“It’s pretty exciting. These young ladies have told me that they’re going to take it all this year again,” Hawkins said. “The returners are pretty confident. I’m just praying that everyone stays healthy.”

“I think we’re going to have a very strong hitting team, and with Maria Bova back inspiring everybody our defense is probably going to be strong as well,” Hawkins said.

The Wildcats should get a good read on where they are as a team Thursday night when they host crosstown rival Lycoming College at 7 p.m. at Bardo Gymnasium on West Third Street.

“It gives us a chance to get the jitters out, and it’s always competitive. We know we’re going to get a great match,” Hawkins said of facing the Warriors. “We’re not expected to beat them, but we did take a game off them last year.”

In addition to McNett, an outside hitter, and Bova, a defensive specialist, other returnees include senior Amber Geckle, a setter from Lewistown who has been a team captain for three years; juniors Courtney Eisenhofer, a middle hitter from Schuylkill Valley; Elizabeth Mast, an outside hitter from Elverson; and Melani Grady, a setter from Youngsville; sophomores Natali Plavi, an outside hitter from Elderton; Sara Gamble, an outside hitter from Northern Potter; and Erin Pillar, a middle and outside hitter from Youngsville.

Freshmen on the squad are Jamie Baxendell, an outside hitter from Jamestown; Jessica DeParasis, an outside hitter from Williamsport; and Johncie Clark, a middle and outside hitter from Chestnut Ridge.

“They’re (all of the girls on the squad) going to be competing for the starting six (positions). We’ll probably have two full teams and either of the teams can play very strong,” Hawkins said.

Complete rosters and season schedules are available on the college’s athletics Web site.

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