At 14-12 (8-5), the Seton Hall volleyball team is in fourth place in the Big East and as it stands right now, that would be good for yet another conference tournament appearance.
After losing players like Tessa Fournier and Danielle Schroeder to graduation, 2017 looked like it would be a rebuilding year for the Pirates.
However, after winning seven of its last 10 games, Seton Hall is looking like a dangerous team in the heart of conference play thanks to the success and improvement of the team’s attack.
Seton Hall’s attack all starts with Abby Thelen. The junior recorded 315 kills all of last season, averaging 3.03 per set. This year, she is on pace to surpass that, already with 363 kills at a staggering 3.74 per set.
However, the team’s production does not stop there. Dominique Mason is also on pace to crush her totals from last year. This year, Mason has 248 kills, compared to 193 last year.
Caitlin Koska has also racked up more kills this year than last, and Haylee Gasser is on pace to improve her numbers as well. Graduate transfer Sharay Barnes has made a huge impact for the Pirate offense, with 227 kills on the season.
Games are not just won on the attack, but with defense as well. Senior Sarah Kenneweg has proven that, as she recorded her 1,000th career dig in the Pirates’ victory over DePaul on Oct. 27.
Also on the defensive side for the Pirates are Mason and Koska, who have improved their blocks per set averages, while Gasser still leads the team with her 0.88 blocks per set.
It has been an up and down year for Seton Hall, but team play as a whole has been a key factor in its successes. Junior Sophia Coffey has been the epitome of that, as she leads the team with 542 assists and sophomore Maggie Cvelbar is not too far behind with 447.
This season has been one of numbers. The Pirates are on pace for their best season since 2014, when they put up a 28-8 record and 17-4 in the Big East, along with an NCAA Tournament appearance. With five regular-season games left, the Pirates still have work to do to solidify postseason play this year.
Thelen continues to close in on 1,000 career kills, as she currently sits at 875, and Coffey is just 27 assists away from 2,500 in her career. The finish to the top four in the conference will be close, but the milestone play from the athletes have given the Pirates the chance to take that fourth spot and build upon last year’s Big East Tournament appearance.
Mat Mlodzinski can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Mlodzinski_15.