By Sam Armstrong
BUENA VISTA, Va. — The Southern Virginia University women's volleyball team had one of its best seasons in program history in 2017, finishing with an overall record of 22-8 (.733%) and finishing third in the CAC with a 7-2 conference record. The season marks impressive progress from 2016, besting last year's win total by 14 games.
Led by third-year head coach Nicole Gwynn, the team also won its first CAC playoff game, defeating Marymount 3-1 at home in the first round of the tournament.
"This season was definitely one to remember, but really I'm most grateful for the overall attitude and work ethic of the team," commented Coach Gwynn. "They came to practice every day to work hard and get better and they have developed a special bond as teammates and friends which has been a privilege to witness.
"Many members of our team are still young, so we get to continue building on this season's great accomplishments. This is one season I'll remember for the rest of my life."
Southern Virginia made Knight Sports Arena an exciting place to be for Knights fans, posting a 10-1 record at home this season, with the only loss coming from ODAC opponent Virginia Wesleyan.
The Knights put up impressive numbers all season, placing first in the conference in hitting percentage (.215) and service aces per set (2.16) while finishing second in the league in assists per set (11.51) and points per set (16.3).
The squad was led this year by seniors Hannah Allred and Penny Gwynn who both made the All-CAC First Team, with Allred earning CAC Player of the Year and VaSID All-State First Team honors. Gwynn and Allred placed second and third, respectively, in the conference in total kills and kills per set.
Setter LaRee Crockett had a breakout year for the Knights, leading the conference in assists per set (9.90) and totaling 990 assists on the season, a Division III era record and the most assists by a Knight since the 36-match 2008 season.
Allred, Gwynn, and Crockett also combined for a four-week streak during the season where Southern Virginia earned CAC Player of the Week honors.
Despite losing four cherished seniors in Claire Houghtaling, Delaney Layton, Allred, and Gwynn, the Knights will look to continue their success into next season by returning to the conference tournament.