Finishing second last season and snapping their ten-year championship streak, the women’s volleyball team is back with a vengeance. Six talented newcomers will add to a team that is also getting junior Kara Hildebrand back. An All-American from two seasons ago, Hildebrand was red-shirted last year due to injury.

First-year Maria Horning will start immediately as the team’s setter. Horning, who played her first year of high school with Hildebrand, comes to Eastern after taking the Norlanco volleyball club to a number two ranking in the Northeast last year.

Coach Mark Birtwistle is excited by the talent of his new players and optimistic that they will make large contributions to the team this season.

The team is looking forward to playing in four tournaments this season, one of which involves nationally ranked opponents and will be held in Chicago, Ill.

Senior co-captain Mandy Platt feels the team’s outstanding defense might be its greatest strength.

“I think that’s going to be a key to our season – playing defense,” Platt said.

With a straight face, Hildebrand added that this might be the best team she has ever played on.

“I think we should come out on top if we do things right,” Hildebrand said.

Head Coach: Mark Birtwistle’07 Record: 17-15 (11-0 PAC)Must-See Games: Cabrini, Delaware Valley, York, King’s, Stevens Tech

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