WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Salem volleyball team opens its 2019 campaign this weekend in Harrisonburg, Va., where the Spirits will participate in the two-day, four-match Route 42 Classic Tournament, co-hosted by Eastern Mennonite and Bridgewater.
Salem takes to the court for the first of two matches on Friday, August 30, against Wilson at 5:30 p.m., which will be followed by a clash with Bridgewater at approximately 7:30 p.m. The Spirits return to action on Saturday morning, squaring off against Delaware Valley at 10 a.m., before ending the tournament against co-host Eastern Mennonite at 2 p.m.
QUICK LOOK AT SALEM
The Spirits, under the direction of first-year coach Bouaketh Chanthavisouk, enter the slate picked fifth in the USA South East Division after wrapping up the 2018 season with a 12-17 overall mark and a 10-6 record in league action.
Salem has four returning seniors and five juniors on the roster. Among the seniors making the biggest impact in 2018 were Taylor Moulton and Madelyn Chappell, who tallied 273 (2.81 kills / set) and 214 kills (2.25 kills / set), respectively. Senior teammate Hannah Delcamp also returns to the Spirits after leading the way with 510 assists (5.00 assists / set) and 34 service aces a season ago. Classmate Alexis Sunderland also made her impact felt on the Salem lineup with the third-most digs (277) at a clip of 3.08 digs / set.
"After a week and a half worth of work, I'm excited to see how the pieces of our team fit together," said Chanthavisouk of her squad. "We've been introducing new concepts and focusing on executing on a higher level than last season. The potential for growth is immense."
PREVIEWING THE COMPETITION
Wilson (7-13 Overall, 2018): Concluded the 2018 season with a 7-13 overall record, finishing 4-4 in the Colonial States Athletic Conference. Wilson will begin this season under the direction of first-year head coach Katie Pennewill, who served as the head coach of the East Coast Power travel team as well as an assistant coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Bridgewater (24-7 Overall, 2018): Reached the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Semifinals in 2019 after finishing 24-7 overall and 10-2 in league play. Returns seven upperclassmen, including three seniors and four juniors, to a unit that is picked to finish third in the ODAC behind Washington & Lee and Randolph-Macon. Reigning ODAC Coach of the Year Erin Harris returns two all-conference players in seniors Rachel Gaston and Taylor McNeely.
Delaware Valley (4-18 Overall, 2018): Wrapped up last season with a 4-18 mark that included an 0-7 record in the Middle Atlantic Conference. The Aggies will return four seniors and one junior from 2018, including Laura Sweger, who was third on the team in both kills (69) and total blocks (12) in 2018.
Eastern Mennonite (8-20 Overall, 2018): Ended last season with an 8-20 mark overall and a 2-10 record in ODAC play. The Royals, who were predicted to finish ninth in conference action this season, returns sophomore Hannah Johnson, who led the team in kills as a freshman. Upperclassmen Amy Goodman, Kara Durren and Meredith Stinnette will also bring offensive experience to a team that graduated three key hitters.
For more information on Salem volleyball check out www.salemspirits.com.