YSU VOLLEYBALL Penguins begin new era under coach Bonner
He's the seventh coach in the history of the sport at YSU.
YOUNGSTOWN -- As the 2005 season approaches, the Youngstown State volleyball program enters its 31st season under the guidance of a new head coach, Joe Bonner, the seventh in school history.
Bonner, who spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at Dayton, inherits a team with eight letterwinners and five starters returning from a team which won its first Horizon League Tournament match last season.
"This is an exciting time for Youngstown State volleyball," Bonner said. "Implementing a new system will be a challenge for us but I'm confident our returning players will make the proper adjustments.
"We also have a talented group of newcomers entering our program so the future of the Youngstown State volleyball is bright."
Leading the Penguins is four-year starting setter Angie Pasquinelli, who ranks third all-time with 2,819 career assists. She needs 181 assists to become the third player in school history to collect 3,000 assists during her career.
Freshman Karla Everhart, a 5-foot-10 setter, guided her prep squad to a 28-1 record and a state runner-up finish in 2004 and will push for playing time.
"With a three-year starting setter returning to lead the offense always gives you a foot up on the competition," Bonner said. "Angie is probably our most experienced player and we will look to her for leadership on and off the court."
One of the Penguins' main offensive threats in 2005 is sophomore outside hitter Jessica Fraley, who was named to the Horizon League All-Newcomer Team last season.
During her first season, Fraley impressed by leading the Penguins with 360 kills (a YSU freshman record) and 3.13 kills per game.
Senior Crystal Duncan also will play a big role on the right side with her blocking capabilities.
Leslie outside hitter
Probably one of the most athletic players of the squad is junior outside hitter Cari Leslie. She slammed 262 kills (2.45 kills per game) and recorded 290 digs last season.
Leslie is joined on the outside by freshman Ebony Barbosa and junior college All-American Tracy O'Bonna. Barbosa, who stands 5-foot-9, was an all-state selection last season while O'Bonna ranked third in the nation with a .479 hitting percentage and 13th nationally with 3.9 kills per game.
"Our outsides are a very athletic group," Bonner said. "These positions are going to be a key to our success this season. We need to be smart, aggressive and be able to put the ball away and I think we have the players to do that."
In the middle, seniors Abby Ettenhofer and Katie Shea combined to average more than four kills and almost two blocks per game.
Ettenhofer, tallied 2.06 kills per game while hitting at a .216 clip and Shea recorded 2.03 kills and 1.17 blocks per game, which led the team.
Freshman Michelle MacMunn, who set the career kills and blocks records at North Gwinnett High School, also will be in the mix in the middle. MacMunn was also a two-time all-county selection and ranks ninth in the state in career blocks.
In the back row, juniors Amanda Cindric and Janelle McDonald provide a solid defensive back line.
Last season, Cindric, who spent most of her time as the libero, led YSU with 294 digs and 3.06 digs per game while McDonald added 145 digs for a 2.45 digs per game average.
Newcomer Jenna Troff, from Coraopolis, Pa., adds depth.
"We have a really solid group of scrappy back-row players who play with a lot of tenacity and enjoy their role," Bonner said. "We need to be able to dig balls up and get into our offensive rhythm to give us an opportunity to win. Just like other sports, we have to have a strong defense in order to win matches and championships."