Jan. 12, 2010
The Saints wrapped up another successful season in 2009, reaching the semifinals of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament and making the program's second Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Tournament appearance. Emmanuel, which picked up 10 wins and just two losses in regular season conference matches, received the 3rd seed in the GNAC Tournament and defeated the 6th-seeded Sharks of Simmons College in the GNAC Quarterfinals.
After a disappointing loss to the 2nd-seeded Wildcats of Johnson & Wales University in the tournament semifinals, the Saints received a bid to the ECACs. Emmanuel entered the tournament as the 8th seed and faced the top-seeded Panthers of Plymouth State University in a road match. Despite dropping a three-set decision to the Panthers, the Saints hung tough against the \#1 seed.
The Saints finished the 2009 campaign at 18 and 14 overall. Emmanuel had two players receive all-conference honors and another player named to the GNAC's All-Sportsmanship Team. Emmanuel sophomores Rebecca Stanton (Quincy, Mass.), Kathryne Olsen (Fairhaven, Mass.), and Jenna Ross (Centerburg, Ohio) were the Saints receiving the 2009 recognition.
Stanton was one of the six GNAC players named to the All-Conference 1st Team. She led the Saints offensively in 2009. The sophomore outside hitter averaged 2.71 kills per set and hit .270 for the year. Stanton was also tough defensively, collecting a team-high 81 blocks, including 56 solo blocks during the season. She was named the GNAC's Player of the Week on September 21, 2009.
Olsen received 2nd Team All-GNAC honors. She was Emmanuel's top play-maker in 2009, dishing out a team-high 805 assists and averaging 7.32 helpers per set. Olsen was ranked third in the GNAC in assists per set. She was also named to the Endicott College Invitational All-Tournament Team this year.
Ross was selected as Emmanuel's representative on the GNAC's All-Sportsmanshp Team. She was solid for Emmanuel all year, both offensively and defensively. The sophomore outside hitter averaged 1.85 kills and 3.96 digs per set and received weekly honors from the GNAC three times this season. Ross was also named to both the Crabtree Classic and the GNAC All-Tournament Teams.
Junior outside hitter Megan Murray (Killingworth, Conn.) improved drastically throughout the season. Murray finished the year ranked 3rd on the Saints in kills per set, averaging 1.70, and she collected GNAC Weekly Honor Roll recognition on October 19th. Classmate and starting libero Megan Clary (Cumberland, R.I.) wrapped up another solid year defensively, averaging 3.75 digs per set for the Saints.
Freshman Samantha Andazola (Queen Creak, Ariz.) adjusted quickly to the collegiate game, starting and playing in more sets than any other Emmanuel player this season. Andazola led the Saints in digs with 509 and was second on the squad in service aces with a total of 49. As just a rookie, Andazola's defense ranked her third in the conference in digs per set. She was named to the GNAC Weekly Honor Roll October 13th and was selected the GNAC Rookie of the Week on October 19th.
Head Coach Denitra Seals will lose three prominent seniors to graduation in May. Diana Grimaldi (Sandy Hook, Conn.), Stephanie O'Neill (Tyngsboro, Mass.) and Nicole McAllister (Hampden, Maine) have been a part of the Saints program for the past four seasons. They have compiled a four-year record of 66 wins and 61 losses, as well as an incredible conference record of 38 wins and just 10 losses. Together, these seniors combined for 273 kills, 245 digs and 112 blocks in 2009.
Coach Seals will return in 2010 for her 4th season as head coach of the Saints. Despite graduating three solid seniors, she will return a group of 12 veterans for the 2010 season, as the Emmanuel program searches for its 4th GNAC title.