#Seawolves look to take the next step in 2014
Aug. 22, 2014
Stony Brook, N.Y. – With 10 returning letterwinners and six talented newcomers, the Stony Brook volleyball team is poised to continue its ascent under second-year head coach Coley Pawlikowski in 2014. Pawlikowski guided the Seawolves to the America East Semifinals in her first season after they missed the championship entirely in 2012.
SBU was picked third in the America East preseason poll, tying the 2006 team for the highest ranking in program history.
Stony Brook will receive a huge boost at the middle blocker position from redshirt senior Evann Slaughter, who missed 2013 with a torn ACL and has looked phenomenal in preseason. Slaughter led the team in blocks (88) and finished in the top ten in the America East in kills (274) and hitting percentage (.237) on her way to first-team all-conference honors in 2012. She also paced the Seawolves in blocks in 2011 (107) and 2010 (76) and was the 2010 America East Rookie of the Year.
Six of Stony Brook’s 10 returning letterwinners started last season, including middle blockers Stephanie McFadden and Taylor Gillie. With Slaughter sidelined, the duo played nearly every set in 2013 in arguably the most physical position on the court. Both did a fantastic job handling the load. McFadden led the league in aces per set (0.43) and finished second in blocks per set (1.00) en route to second-team all-conference and America East All-Championship accolades. She broke the single-season Division I program record with 115 block assists. Gillie, who played in all 34 matches and 129 sets, finished second on the team and ninth in the conference with 0.78 blocks per stanza.
An All-Academic pick last season and the 2012 America East Rookie of the Year, junior outside hitter Melissa Rigo is Stony Brook’s leading returning offensive threat, having finished seventh in the conference with 2.69 kills per set as a sophomore. The East Northport, N.Y., native with a powerful arm was second on the team in digs per set (2.84) and double-doubles (13) last season.
Redshirt junior Kathy Fletcher, who played for Ashland University in 2011 before missing 2012 due to injury, performed well in her debut campaign with the Seawolves. She has come back stronger and appears poised to reach a new level in 2014 after finishing third on the team with 0.68 blocks per set in 2013. Fletcher’s attacking abilities have continued to improve, and she will look to build off her solid 1.44 kills per set average from last year.
Junior right side hitter Shelby Tietjen, who played in 15 matches and 35 sets last season, will provide depth to the Stony Brook offense.
Senior setter Hannah Dolan directed the Stony Brook offense for much of last season and finished sixth in the conference with 7.76 assists per set. She was a pivotal part of the Seawolves’ 10th-place finish in the national statistical rankings in aces per set (1.69) as she was second on the team at 0.40 aces per set.
Junior setter Nicole Vogel provided a spark off the bench late in the season and finished second on the squad with 3.53 assists per set. As a setter, she is very capable of orchestrating an offense and creating positive situations for her attackers. During the offseason, Vogel has embraced challenge and has improved her game in several areas. Pawlikowski and the Seawolves plan to rely more on her this year in both setting and defensive positions.
A sparkplug and team leader, redshirt junior libero Lo Hathaway served as Stony Brook’s little-engine-that-could on defense last season. The Warsaw, N.Y., product broke the program’s all-time single-season digs mark with 553 digs and finished first on the team, fifth in the league and fifth in program single-season history with 4.29 digs per set in 2013.
Sophomore defensive specialist Cailyn Hart saw action in 13 matches and 22 sets during her rookie year. She took significant strides in the spring and has really focused on her serve and becoming a more consistent player. She will be asked to contribute on defense and in serve receive.
Times Beacon Record: Former Smithtown volleyball player to hit the court at SBU
Stony Brook will welcome six promising freshmen to the fold as the program continues to grow under Pawlikowski.
Emily Costello, a 6-2 outside hitter, is a dynamic and athletic six-rotational player. She earned five letters at Our Lady of Mercy and was twice selected First Team All-New York State.
Outside hitter/defensive specialist Melann Amory comes to Stony Brook from Southern Lehigh High School, where she earned four letters and led the squad to the Pennsylvania State Finals in 2011. A driven self-motivator, Amory recorded 300 blocks as a sophomore, junior and senior and at least 100 kills every season.
Middle blocker/outside hitter Cydney Bowman will bring an understanding of what it takes to contribute to a winning culture after leading Lake Mary High School to back-to-back State Final Four appearance and a second-place finish in 2013. She is a competitive, versatile player with a strong volleyball IQ.
The 6-1 Courtney Scanlan will join Bowman in both the middle and on the outside. A two-time First Team All-Western New York honoree at Ellicotville High School, Scanlan is dynamic, springy and a team player.
Defensive specialist/outside hitter Abby Hickey is quick-footed and explosive. The Dekalb High School alum possesses strong ball control and the potential to be a great defender.
A local product out of Smithtown East High School, defensive specialist Dani Nizich led the Bulls to a 12-0 mark and was named Most Outstanding Player League III as a senior. She displays passion, leadership potential and solid ball control.
Stony Brook will play 12 matches at Pritchard Gynmasium, including the first-ever Seawolves Invite Presented by Islandia Marriott Long Island Sept. 19-20. SBU begins the season against DePaul at the DePaul Invite, the first of three non-conference road tournaments, Aug. 29 at 8 p.m. The Seawolves renew their rivalry with Hofstra Sept. 3 in Hempstead, marking the first match between the two squads since 2009.
Stony Brook welcomes Kennesaw State, Western Michigan and St. Francis Brooklyn to Pritchard for the Seawolves Invite Presented by Islandia Marriott Long Island Sept. 19-20.
SBU begins America East action at Hartford Sept. 26. The top four teams in the conference will vie for the America East title and NCAA Tournament automatic qualifier at the highest seed. Dates and times are TBD but matches will be played over two consecutive days Nov. 21-23. The Seawolves are searching for their first America East crown.
Coley Pawlikowski is in her second season as Stony Brook volleyball head coach. A rising star in the collegiate volleyball coaching ranks and a tenacious recruiter of student-athletes, Pawlikowski is a three-time recipient of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Thirty Under 30 award. Pawlikowski was hired on January 16, 2013.
In her first year at the helm, Pawlikowski guided to Seawolves back to the America East Championship and mentored a pair of all-conference picks in Kaitlin Costello (first team) and Stephanie McFadden (second team). Stony Brook consistently ranked near the top of the country in aces per set, finishing the year 10th at 1.69. The Seawolves are also excelling off the court under her watch and were honored with their first AVCA Team Academic Award.
A tenacious recruiter, Pawlikowski added six promising Seawolves to the roster in her first full recruiting class as she looks to build a championship program. Pawlikowski served as the defensive position coach at Wisconsin, helping the Badgers lead the Big Ten in digs per set as a team and boast the individual digs champion.
Pawlikowski previously worked as the top assistant coach for her alma mater, Northern Illinois, from 2009-12, where she helped guide the Huskies to a 2011 Mid-American Conference regular season title and an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.