The Queens College women’s volleyball team has been on an absolute run this year, and is currently on pace for their best season since 2008.
The Knights, led by fifth-year Head Coach Stefan Leger, are currently sitting at 10-6, which is good enough for second place in the East Coast Conference (ECC) — blowing their preseason fourth seed projection out of the water. Coach Leger’s squad is predominantly led by players who were on the roster last year when the Knights made their first playoff appearance since the aforementioned 2008 season.
Already six weeks into the season, the Knights have accumulated two Player of the Week distinctions, two Defensive Player of the Week honorees, three Setter of the Week winners, and five total honor roll selections. The Knights have also earned two sweeps of all weekly awards excluding the Rookie of the Week in weeks two and five. All of these players are returners.
While it’s hard to pick out who on the roster is most responsible for this steep uptick in performance, you can take a closer look at four players. Sophomore libero Sarah Munn has stepped up to the challenge after reigning ECC Libero of the Year Ryann Frontera left the team after one season. Munn has one Defensive Player of the Week selection alongside one weekly honor roll nomination, and is currently second in the conference in total digs.
Close behind Munn in digs is junior outside hitter Christina Franco who earned one Player of the Week award to go alongside two weekly honor roll selections. She is fifth in the entire conference in total digs. Another junior who has had an impressive campaign with the Knights this year is the Greek-born setter Despina Boudouris who has a whopping three Setter of the Week selections alongside a single weekly honor roll selection, who comfortably leads the ECC in total assists.
Additionally, sophomore outside hitter Kendall Conrad has turned it up a notch from her freshman campaign, as she has nearly matched her kill count from a season ago with seven matches left to play. Conrad may be the only player to compete with Munn for who has improved the most on paper since last year. She’s currently second in the ECC in total kills and total points with one Player of the Week nomination and one weekly honor roll selection under her belt.
However, it isn’t just these four players that have helped the Knights make their huge improvement. Returning Second-Team All-Conference right-side/middle-blocker Alexis Deodat, a senior, leads the ECC in total blocks. Sophomore middle-blocker Lindsay Osterhoudt won the Defensive Player of the Week award in week five, and currently only trails Deodat in total blocks on the team. Junior right-side opposite Alicia Cervera Sospedra has done a bit of everything, as she’s third on the team in points, fourth in blocks, and fifth in digs.
Coach Leger’s team trails only the two-time reigning champion Daemen University Wildcats in the conference standings who, predictably, were selected by all conference coaches to repeat for a second time to win their third championship in three seasons this preseason. The Knights lost three sets to none against the Wildcats back on September 23rd in a match that saw 26 ties and 13 lead changes, which included a heartbreaking 25-23 loss in the second set.
With their next match set for this Thursday after against a non-conference opponent in the 12-5 Adelphi University Panthers, Coach Leger and the Knights will be coming off of 11 days of rest and will continue their pursuit in decrowning the Daemen Wildcats as the top women’s volleyball program in the ECC.