(above) The Shepherd Women’s Volleyball team compiled a 24-4 record for the season.
Shepherd University’s athletic teams certainly have been working hard during the school’s 150th anniversary year. The football team’s multiple come-from-behind victories and extended run in the NCAA playoffs (falling in the semi-final game to eventual Division II champion Ferris State) gave students, alumni, and local fans plenty of reasons to remember the year. The women’s teams are no less impressive — the basketball team has compiled a 10-1 record as of the end of December, with upset wins over two ranked teams (Gannon & Indiana PA). The volleyball team finished its season with a 24-4 record, competing into the PSAC semi-finals.
Volleyball coach Alex Hoekstra, in charge of the program since 2015, noted that five of the team’s strongest players graduated in 2019. 2020 was expected to be a rebuilding year, but due to the pandemic, the team spent last fall’s season working out and practicing. By the start of the 2021 fall season, the payoff to the extra off-season became quickly apparent on the court.
According to Hoekstra, fans can expect good things next year too: “We had an end of the season meeting with all of the players to plan for the offseason. This team is hungry and not happy that the season is over. We’ll pick up again in mid-January for the next fourteen weeks with weight-lifting and training.”
Hoekstra noted that the players participate in the on-campus summer camps also. Besides evaluating recruiting prospects among the high-school age players, Hoekstra says the camps are a good opportunity for younger players to explore the sport too. “Volleyball is a very social sport. It’s challenging and competitive, but there are lots of ways to fit into a team and constantly work on different skills. You see this social connection in our great alumnae network that supports the team — it’s like a sisterhood.”
Visit ShepherdRams.com online for current team, ticket and game information. The Volleyball team resumes play next August. The Women’s Basketball team is 10-1 at the end of December and resumes play on Jan 5 (the next home game is Jan 8). Both teams play at the Butcher Center on the Shepherd University campus. Single game basketball tickets are $5. Purchase online at ShepherdRams.UniversityTickets.com. For summer sports camp information, visit ShepherdAthleticCamps.com.By Staff Contributor