Volleyball 2016 Season In Review
The Holy Cross volleyball team wrapped up its season winning its final two matches of the season at the newly renovated Hart Center at the Luth Athletic Complex on Nov. 11-12. The 2016 season proved to be one to remember, as the Crusaders combined to set four all-time records, while posting its most wins in five years, including six conference victories, which are tied in program history for the most Patriot League wins captured in a single season.
CRUSADERS POST MOST WINS IN FIVE YEARS
- Finishing the year with a 10-19 overall record and 6-10 conference mark, the Crusaders ended its season on a positive note, winning-out its final nine sets in three straight victories. The last time the team won nine of its last 10 sets was in 2011.
- The Crusaders’ 10 wins this season are the most since 2011, when Holy Cross went 10-21, as its six Patriot League victories are tied for the most wins in conference action since joining the league in 1990. The Crusaders have tallied six Patriot League wins just four other times (2000, 2004, 2011 and 2014), while its 10-19 overall mark stands as its best record in four seasons.
- To start the year, the Crusaders earned non-conference wins over North Carolina Central (3-0; Aug. 26), before defeating Brown in a five set-thriller for the first time since 1987 on Sept. 2. Prior to Patriot League play, Holy Cross additionally took down Quinnipiac (3-1; Sept. 10) and La Salle (3-0; Sept. 10) at the Holly Young Invitational.
- In conference action, the Crusaders swept the season series with both Lafayette (3-1, Oct. 7; 3-1, Nov. 5) and Bucknell (3-0, Oct. 15; 3-0, Nov. 11). The last time the Crusaders swept the season series against two Patriot League foes was in 2010 when the team defeated Navy and Lafayette twice. Holy Cross also posted a 3-1 win over Loyola Maryland on Oct. 29 and defeated Lehigh in three sets on Senior Day to end their season at home on Nov. 12.
- In head coach Melissa Batie-Smoose’s two years at the helm of the program, she has tallied the most wins as a head coach in their first two seasons since 1989, when John Cody took over as head coach, leading the team to 23 victories in his first two years with the program.
FOUR RECORDS SET
- The Crusaders combined to set four all-time school records this season.
- Senior defensive specialist Emily Popp set the all-time record in career digs with 1,381.
- Senior co-captain outside hitter Mandy Sifferlen registered 497 kills this season, which ranks first all-time. She ended the year averaging 4.97 kills per set, which is the most by a Crusader in a single season.
- Junior middle hitter Mary Mullen set the all-time career record in blocks, ending the season with 247 stuffs.
SIFFERLEN LEADS THE OFFENSE
- Sifferlen proved to be a leader on all ends of the court, helping the team average a .170 hitting percentage, which is ranked seventh all-time in program history. Her 497 kills additionally finished first in the conference and eighth in the nation at the conclusion of the season.
- At the conclusion of the 2016 season, her 4.97 kills per set were sixth in the nation and first in the Patriot League, while her 5.41 points per set were ranked 11th nationally.
- Sifferlen tallied double digit kills in 41 of her last 43 matches, while leading the team in kills in her final 36 of 38 contests.
- Sifferlen tallied 17double-doubles in 2016 and had 36 double-doubles in her career. She also finished second on the team with 305 digs and third on the team with 20 service aces.
- Sifferlen wrapped up her career ranked second all-time in school history with 1,334 kills and also had 866 digs, 144 blocks, 92 service aces, while playing in 365 sets. She averaged 3.65 kills per set with a .199 hitting percentage.
- Sifferlen was named Patriot League Player of the Week and Crusader of the Week on Sept. 13 after she recorded a career-high 39 kills in the 3-1 victory over Quinnipiac on Sept. 10, which are tied for 19th all-time in a single four-set match in the NCAA history, tied for the most kills in a four-set match since 2008 when the 25-point rally scoring system was initiated. She’s the only Crusader to reach 30 or more kills in a single match.
- Sifferlen, a two-time second team All-Patriot League selection, was named first team All-Patriot League in 2016, while earning Academic All-Patriot League for the third straight year.
- Sifferlen was named to the JMU Inviational, Crusader Classic and Holly Young Invitational All-Tournament teams in 2016.
LEADERS ON THE DEFENSIVE END OF THE COURT
- The Crusaders recorded 1,544 digs in 2016, which rank eighth all-time in the program’s history. Junior co-captain libero M.C. Magner led the back row with 423 digs (4.23 digs per set), which ranked third in the conference and fifth in the Holy Cross record book. Magner is ranked ninth all-time in program history with 1,044 career digs and is 48 digs away from ranking eighth.
- Sophomore middle hitter Kristen Somerville led the Crusaders with 74 blocks this season, as Mullen was right behind her with 68 stuffs. The Crusaders posted 170 total blocks this season, which ranks ninth all-time in the program’s history.
FISRT YEAR CONTRIBUTIONS
- Freshman Lizzie Webb entered the season filling the role of the team’s setter. She amassed 850 assists, which ranks sixth all-time in school history and finished third in the Patriot League. Webb additionally led the Crusaders with 29 service aces, good for ranking 10th in the conference at the end of the season, while posting 14 double-doubles this year. She finished the season with 238 digs and 43 blocks, which each ranked third on the team.
- At outside hitter sophomore Luisa Soares finished second on the team with 174 kills. She additionally had 166 digs, 16 service aces and had two double-doubles.
There are numerous ways to stay connected with the Holy Cross volleyball team. Follow the Crusaders on Twitter @HCrossVB, on Facebook and on Instagram. You can also get the latest news and results on the team sent directly to your e-mail. To sign up for e-mail alerts go here.