For the first time in a number of years, the Eisenhower volleyball team will field a full squad as 26 young ladies have chosen to play this fall.
Led by first-year head coach and Ike graduate Lori Pascuzzi, the Knights will feature eight returning players — Carley Christianson, Alexis Pascuzzi, Layla Edwards, Lainey Font, Marissa Gourley, Mickenzie Miller, Caroline Smyth and Emilie Jones.
“All of the returning players are really stepping it up,” Coach Pascuzzi said. “I am also impressed with sophomore Kendra Danielson as a defensive specialist. She should see substantial playing time in the back row.”
With the large number of girls on the team, the Lady Knights will have the luxury of having a full junior varsity schedule, a fact not lost on Pascuzzi.
“I have a couple of juniors pushing for playing time — Rhiannon Cook and newcomer Alexis Davis,” Pascuzzi said. “Sophomores who are pushing for varsity time include Hayley Highhouse, Ariel Ludwick and Emma Wynn. It’s a great problem to have and will certainly help us build some depth and continue to build the program.”
Ten freshmen, including Alanna Byrd, Pisley Lawson and Maddie Morrison, “have been impressive,” according to the coach.
Pascuzzi said the season goals are to make it past the first round of the playoffs and “establish a reputation that we can compete with anyone.”
She added: “The players will need an openness to playing new positions and pushing themselves beyond their comfort zones. The girs need to play where they are needed to give the team the best opportunity for success.”
Eisenhower opens its season today when it entertains Mercyhurst Prep at 6 p.m.