Senior Letter Series: Emily Ast

A letter to all of my teammates,

Over these past four years I have had the incredible opportunity of meeting so many wonderful people. Some of the most important people I have met have been the teammates I have gotten the privilege of sharing Schrader Gym with over these past four seasons. So, to the teammates I had when I came in as a Freshman to the teammates I have now, I want to say thank you. Thank you all for having the most incredible and significant influence on my collegiate years. Thank you for your kind hearts, open arms, and loving souls. And thank you for being some of my best friends that I know will last a lifetime, whether you’re in NY, Florida, or even the Netherlands.

So to start, I want to begin with the leaders I aspired to be when I was just a little baby freshman. So, to Pendles, Po, Lizzy, Beth, and Jia, thank you for being the most incredible role models for me, from my first day of preseason. I remember my first day meeting all of you on my recruiting visit and then again walking down to our team meeting before beginning our 2015-2016 season. Playing with you I remember your intensity and drive to win, but also the love you had for each other and everyone of your teammates. You showed me what it meant to be a part of Geneseo volleyball, which was so much greater than just a team but a real family. You watched out for us freshman every step of the way and made sure we were always taken care of, and never left behind. Thank you for being the start of what this program has become, and welcoming me into it, making Geneseo Volleyball feel like home.

Next to Trish, Courtney, Dani, Emma, Maddie, and Jess. One of my first memories with you guys was when you took Bain and I to the lake during preseason to see how we were doing and to get to know us since we would barely talk during practice. You never failed to make me laugh from the weird voices and dad jokes, to the just totally random things that would come out of your mouths. So, Emma, thank you for all of our slumber parties and late night chats, especially the ones that involved a lot of candy. Thank you to Trish and Maddie for being my mentors and someone I can always talk to when I need advice. Courtney and Dani, thank you you for always having my back and being genuinely great friends and people. And Jess, thank you for being the sweetest and most selfless, determined, and hardworking girl I have ever met. I will never forget all of your kind words and all of the laughs we shared so thank you for being such an incredible piece of my collegiate years and for staying in touch even though you’re not in Geneseo anymore.

Now to Grace, Sam, Kat, Shea, Abby, Kendyll and Scheff. The year your class came in was the year everything changed. You guys brought a spark to our team and pushed all of us older than you to be better. And now, we’ve had the last 3 years to get to know each other and I could not imagine playing a game without you guys by my side. You are the ones I can look to when I need advice on the court, the ones who challenge me to be better, and the weirdest group of friends who never fail to dance like maniacs or quote weird vines and make me laugh. Being your teammate reminds me why I love volleyball so much, and it is just the opportunity to go play the sport you love, and to have a fun time with your friends while doing it. So to all of you, thank you for being great leaders, for pushing this team to areas it had not been before, and for never forgetting to laugh and dance along the way.

Next, my little baby sophomores, Mary, Gabby, Bridget, Alex, Kiersten, Allison, Erina and Moose. I can’t even begin to explain the love I have in my heart for each and everyone of you. I literally see you guys in the gym and I can’t help but light up and smile. You fill my days with lots of hugs and never fail to make me feel special. You are all loads of fun, and some really insanely talented volleyball players. You came into the program filling big shoes, and never let our team skip a beat. You guys are leaders on the court, and honestly the real deal when it comes to being student-athletes. You push me to give 110% everyday because that is what every one of you gives everyday. You truly fill me with joy and have made practices and games such a fun and exciting place to be, filled with your competitive energy and fun-loving spirits. So, to each of you, thank you for all of the hugs and smiles you’ve brought to me over these last two seasons.

To the little freshman, Morgan, MK, and Maddie. Your excitement to learn and to be a part of Geneseo Volleyball is refreshing and pushes each of our teammates to challenge themselves to be better everyday. The way each of you has improved in just a few weeks is actually incredible and it makes me so happy to leave the program knowing such incredible people and players like you have just become a part of it. Even though you were all a little quiet at first, it’s been so fun to see you guys open up over the last few weekends and for all of us to really start having some fun times together as a team. So, thank you guys for your excitement to play and learn, and for reminding me that it is never too late to get better, even if I only have a few weeks left. I am so proud of everything you have done in these last few weeks- I can’t wait to come back and watch you play on your senior night.

Now Luca, I didn’t really know where to squeeze you in here so you will get a little paragraph for yourself. First, I want to thank you for taking a chance on a small college in upstate New York and for deciding to come play volleyball. I can’t imagine my sophomore season without you and the insane competitive edge and athleticism you brought over here with you. Thank you for being brutally honest sometimes, because at the end of the day sometimes that’s just what we needed. Thank you for consistently pushing me, for helping me find my voice, and for teaching me that it is okay to be firm, and to stand up for what I want/believe in. Thank you for opening up a door to a whole new world, and for always staying in touch, even with a postcard from India. And Luca, I promise you, I will come over and visit soon.

Now lastly, to my absolute best friends that I have met. Kaci and Madison , thank you for being the absolute coolest and funniest people I know. Thank you for such a genuine friendship, and for the endless laughs, late nights, Byrne Dairy runs, and never failing to be by my side and to help me crack a smile or laugh. Thanks for being weird with me always. And last but certainly not least to my best friend Sarah Bain. Even though you decided to graduate early and get ahead on being a real life adult I will never forget all of the fun memories we shared living together for 3 years. Thank you for always hitting up the vending machine with me, singing our favorite musicals at all hours of the night, for all of the cuddles, and being the one person I know I can count on for anything in this world. Thanks you guys for being by my side through these last 4 years and for a friendship like no other.

So, thank you to Geneseo Volleyball for bringing me the most incredible people and for filling my four years with plenty of smiles, laughter, sing alongs, inside jokes, and friendships that will last long beyond my time here.

Love, your teammate,

Emily Ast

 

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Meet a First-Year: MK Saladino

Name: Mary Catherine Saladino  

Nickname(s): MK       

Major(s): Accounting

Class Year: Freshman

Family members: James Saladino (dad), Mary Hartill (mom), Joseph Saladino (brother), Jessie Saladino(sister), Madelyn Saladino (sister)

Hobbies/Interests: Going to the beach, playing with my dogs

Why did you choose Geneseo? I chose Geneseo because I love the atmosphere and knew that I would fit in great here.
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Favorite….

Color:  Purple

Movie: Grease

TV show: The Office

Food: Baked ziti

Musician/artist/band: J. Cole

Vacation spot: Montauk, Long Island

Volleyball drill: two touch

My idea of happiness is: Being surrounded by all the people I care about and knowing that they care about me too.

A quote that motivates/inspires you: The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.”

What was the greatest compliment you’ve ever received? Someone couldn’t believe how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown in such a short amount of time and they were proud that I never gave up and told me I was a driven and determined person.

One thing I absolutely have to do before I turn 25: Go skydiving

Post-college/career plans:  My plan is to get a job in New York City at an accounting firm, live there for a few years and then eventually move back to Long Island.

Biggest pet peeve: My biggest pet peeve is when people only have negative things to say because I am a positive person it puts me in a bad mood when someone never has anything good to say.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, name 3 things/people you’d have to have with you to survive: My mom, my bed, my dog

Three things you think your closest friends would say when asked about you as a person: Loyal, outgoing, and energetic

What is your greatest achievement in your life thus far? Playing the sport I love on a collegiate level

If you could be ANYONE other than yourself for a day, who would it be and why? Michael Jordan because he was cut from the basketball team in jr high and ended up being one of the greatest basketball players in NBA history

 

Meet A First-Year: Maddie McLaughlin

Name:              Madeleine Walz McLaughlin

Nickname(s):   Maddie, Mad, Mads

Major(s): Undecided

Class Year: 2022

Family members: Mary and Peter McLaughlin, brothers Charlie (20) and Henry (17)

Hobbies/Interests: Being in the great outdoors; card tricks; spending time with family/friends; and eating dried mango.

Why did you choose Geneseo? The campus is beautiful, the people are friendly, and the volleyball team is B.A.

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Favorite…..

Color:  Turquoise

Movie: Avatar

TV show: Parks and Rec

Food:  Sushi

Musician/artist/band: Don’t have one; I have a very eclectic taste in music

Vacation spot: Anywhere that has sushi

Volleyball drill: 1-2-1

My idea of happiness is: Playing pretty much any sport, or eating really good food with really good people.

A quote that motivates/inspires you: “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for.”

What was the greatest compliment you’ve ever received? I’ve been told I’m a good friend to everyone.

One thing I absolutely have to do before I turn 25: Be a contestant on the Bachelor, and learn how to play one piano song really well.

Post-college/career plans:  Just like my major, I currently have no idea.

Biggest pet peeve: Improper grammar

If you were stuck on a deserted island, name 3 things/people you’d have to have with you to survive: My cat, a deck of cards, and a sushi-making kit (if that’s a thing).

Three things you think your closest friends would say when asked about you as a person: Tall, annoyingly obsessed with grammar, really tall.

What is your greatest achievement in your life thus far? Overcoming a nearly three-year-long illness during high school and returning to sports.

If you could be ANYONE other than yourself for a day, who would it be and why? Sam Mendelsohn, because I’ve always wanted to be short for a day 🙂

 

 

Geneseo Volleyball: Ace Club

Happy Monday, all! Here to share a fantastic fundraising opportunity for our program — our very first Geneseo Volleyball Ace Club!

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Our Ace Club works like this: 

You choose an amount that you’d like to pledge towards the total number of aces we will accumulate by the end of our season. This amount can be fixed ($0.25, $0.50, $1, $2, $5) or it can be customized to whatever amount you’d like. At the end of the season, the total amount of your donation will be calculated (amount pledged x total # of aces) and you will be notified of your amount and how to complete your donation! What a fun way to not only help support our program, but to also encourage you to follow our success all year long!

Donations must be pledged in writing (via email or mail) to Coach Drews.

**Pledges to our Ace Club will be accepted for the entire 2018-2019 academic year! All of those made during the season will be collected at the end of the season. Pledges made after the season will be collected immediately.

We thank you in advance for your support of our program and your participation in our Ace Club! Through your support, costs for the following events/items will be greatly offset: end of season banquet, team bonding trips & activities, travel gear, leadership development materials.

 

Contact Head Coach Hunter Drews to make your pledge today!

(585) 245-5552

drews@geneseo.edu

Meet A First-Year: Morgan Michalski

Name: Morgan Renee Michalski  

Position: Setter

Nickname(s): Morg or Mo

Major(s):  Childhood education/ Special ed

Class Year: 2022

Family members: Tom and Tara Michalski, sister Stephanie Michalski-Bauer (23)

Hobbies/Interests:  I love doing arts and crafts, I love to shop, mostly for clothes and jewelry, and I love to travel with my family. We go on a big family vacation every other summer and it’s a blast!

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Favorite……

Color:  Light pink

Movie: Breakfast Club and High School Musical (all of them)

TV show: Friends

Food:  Baked potato with sour cream and butter

Musician/artist/band: Ariana Grande and Beyonce

Vacation spot: Any place relaxing like the beach or in the mountains

Volleyball drill: Hitters vs defense

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My idea of happiness is: Appreciating the little things in life, such as the sunset, a group of friends, or a specific moment in time.

A quote that motivates/inspires you: “It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine” -Eeyore (Winnie the Pooh)

What was the greatest compliment you’ve ever received? Friends from school have told me that I have a big heart.

One thing I absolutely have to do before I turn 25: Travel to NYC on a train.

Post-college/career plans:  Go back to Buffalo and have a small family, working as an elementary school teacher, living a happy life.

Biggest pet peeve: When people think they are entitled to something and don’t work for it.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, name 3 things/people you’d have to have with you to survive: My mom, a pillow, & a bag of trail mix with M&Ms in it.

What is your greatest achievement in your life thus far? Making it to college and playing the sport I love, and being happy with my life at this moment.

If you could be ANYONE other than yourself for a day, who would it be and why? Anyone of my friends or anyone in my life, for sort of like a self evaluation.

Why did you choose Geneseo? I came for a summer camp and fell in love with the campus, it is what I pictured a college looked like. The volleyball team was also a big influence on picking Geneseo, the team is full of great personalities!

2017-2018 Season Wrap-Up

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relentless (adj).

re·lent·less  \ -ləs \

showing or promising no abatement of severity, intensity, strength, or pace; unrelenting

 

Relentless. Supportive. Challenging. Competitive. Record-breaking. Grit. Family.

While the 2017-2018 season may not have ended in the way that we’d hoped, reflecting on the last three months left us with these inspiring feelings of achievement, of success, of a sense of belonging, and of a hunger for more.

Our season began with an opening weekend out in Ohio where we stood in the gym at Mount Union with a (mostly) brand new coaching staff, 8 returning players, and 8 brand new faces to complete our team. We knew it was going to be a wild ride and it was nothing short of a crazy one.

And record-breaking it certainly was. Sophomore OH #14 Grace Cergol was named SUNYAC Athlete of the Week four times out of nine this season (a conference high). She was also named Geneseo’s Athlete of the Week along with her teammates, sophomore OPP #11 Abby May & sophomore Libero #13 Sam Mendelsohn. Mendelsohn led the SUNYAC in digs & digs/set right from the start after our very first outing at Mount Union, a standing that she maintained all throughout the season and finished at the top of the conference. Cergol maintained the same trajectory over the course of the season, leading the conference in kills & kills/set. Cergol finished out the season ranking #1 in the SUNYAC with attacks/set, kills/set, points/set, total attacks, and total kills (486– 3rd highest in program history). She also ranked #10 in the conference in digs/set, making her the only player in the conference to rank in the top 10 in both kills/set & digs/set. Junior Setter #9 Emily Ast led the conference in assists/set, outranking all other setters in the conference until the final week of the season when she fell to second just below Fredonia’s Hallie Christopher. Ast also reached 2nd place in the Geneseo Volleyball record books with 2,575 career assists and completed 1,000 assists in one season during our final regular-season tournament weekend.

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Cergol & Ast also made their marks in the national realm of DIII volleyball this season. Cergol started out the season ranked #2 in the nation in total kills with 147 after just two weeks of competition. She stayed within the top 20 in the nation all season long,  finishing at #12 in the nation in total kills, #7 in attacks/set, and #9 in kills/set. Ast began the season ranked #22 in the nation for total assists and #56 in assists/set and rounded out her junior season at #36 in assists/set and #21 in total assists in all of DIII volleyball.

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Many other members of the GSUVB squad had career-high matches that propelled the team through the season. #11 OPP Abby May reached her career-high kills with 18 in SUNYAC match against Plattsburgh this season as well as a stellar hitting percentage of %.500 against Pitt-Bradford. FY MB #2 Kiersten Colvin, who was named to Mount Union’s Opening Weekend All Tournament Team in her very first collegiate weekend, reached a career-high 10 kills against Allegheny that weekend. #13 L Mendelsohn reached a career-high 30 digs in SUNYAC match against Cortland, maintaining her defensive lead of the team and the conference.

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As a whole, Geneseo Volleyball broke streaks and records all over the map. In  our first SUNYAC Pool Play weekend alone, GSUVB took down New Paltz in a 3-2 win for the first time since beating them in the 2006 SUNYAC semi-finals. The team also took their first 3-0 sweep of a pool play weekend for the first time since the pool play structure began in 2010. After a few well-fought battles against regionally-ranked teams at MIT and Mount Union, Geneseo Volleyball completed the longest winning streak in 19 years with 10-straight wins from Pitt-Bradford on 9/13 to Nazareth on 9/29. Last but certainly not least, the team secured the 3rd place seed in the SUNYAC Tournament, improving upon last season’s 5th place seed and their first tournament appearance in five seasons and hosting its first playoff match since 1996.

After a sweep of Cortland in SUNYAC Quarterfinals came a tough 0-3 loss to No.2 Fredonia in SUNYAC Semis, the accolades and successes of this team kept pouring in. We ended with a 23-11 overall record, the highest win total since 2004. Ast, May, Mendelsohn, and Cergol were all named to SUNYAC All-Conference Teams (3rd, 2nd, 1st, 1st respectively). #13 Mendelsohn was honored as the SUNYAC’s Tri-Defensive Player of the Year; #14 Cergol was named SUNYAC Player of the Year. As the cherry on top, Cergol was named to the AVCA’s First Team All-Northeast Region, making her only the fifth player in program history to receive this honor, the second to receive a First-Team nod, and is currently in the running to becoming the second All-American in program history.

 

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So yes– we were relentless this season. We were competitive. We played with grit. We were record-breaking.

But most of all, we were all of those other words mentioned above– we were supportive, we challenged each other, we played as one. Best of all, we were a family. A family that won together, lost together, struggled together, overcame adversity together, and created the memory of a historic season for this program together. Here at Geneseo Volleyball, that’s what we’re all about. Being respectful, supportive, well-rounded, good people who just happen to love playing relentless, competitive, tough, gritty volleyball every day. We can’t ask for anything more than that.

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But we’re hungry for more. We’re hungry to better ourselves, individually and as a team, so that we can hit the ground running in August 2018. It’s too far away for our liking right now, but it’ll come faster than we think– and when it does, we’ll be ready.

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to our parents, friends, families, department staff, administrators, fans, and alumni for all of their support this season– without you, this ride wouldn’t be half as meaningful or successful. We can’t tell you how much we appreciate your endless love and support– you’re a wonderful addition to our Geneseo Volleyball family!

Wishing you a happy and safe holiday season!

Coach Drews

 

 

 

Summer Blog Series: Coach Hunter

Hello everyone! I’m Coach Hunter, the assistant coach for Geneseo Volleyball, and I’m here to kick off our summer blog series for 2017! Just about a year ago, I was writing my very first summer blog post to introduce myself to the team, yet now I’m a familiar face to most of you– crazy how time flies!

With this being my first real ‘adult’ summer, I’m slowly starting to realize it’s not all fun and games like it was throughout my school career…work doesn’t stop just because the weather gets nice! 🙂 But what is work when you love what you do??

I’ll be spending much of my summer in various gyms across New York State– much of it in our very own Schrader gym and occasionally at some other high schools in the area. Being able to coach a young players and help create a foundation for a future generation of great athletes is one of my favorite parts of the job and there will be lots of that taking place this summer!

In my down-time, I do have some fun little things planned…this weekend, I’m headed to Indiana, PA for a Gold Medal Squared Coaching Clinic with a few close friends and fellow coaches. It’ll be a great weekend of learning and actually getting some hands-on experience with all that we’re being taught! The cool part about GMS Clinics is that the coaches are run through all of the drills and techniques. That way, when we come back to share what we’ve learned with our teams and colleagues, we’ve actually performed the skill or been a part of the drill that we’re teaching! So I can’t complain about a whole weekend of getting to play and learn some more volleyball 🙂

When I’m not working, coaching, or playing volleyball, you’ll find me in my ‘backyard oasis’ at my family’s home. Complete with a firepit, tiki torches, and some great sun-bathing spots, I’ve got my very own vacation spot without having to leave home! It’s my favorite place to be, especially on these cool summer nights, with a fire, some smores, and good friends. I can’t wait to relax and enjoy the summer out there whenever I get the chance!

Last but not least, I have to include a cute little selfie from Coach Amber & I…last weekend, we played at the Sylvan Beach Volleyball Tournament and while we weren’t as successful as we’d hoped, we had a blast! It was a beautiful day– no complaints about spending the day on the beach surrounded by great volleyball 🙂

With all of that said, I hope those of you who are on your summer break by now are enjoying yourselves! Incoming first-years who are finishing up their senior years, I wish you the best of luck with your last few weeks! Enjoy yourselves, cherish the time you have with friends and family, and get ready to open one of the greatest chapters of your life in just a few short months. Returners, refresh yourselves and enjoy being home! Stay active, have a blast, and PLAY VOLLEYBALL! I know I speak for Coach Amber and myself when I say that we can’t wait to see you all at camp and in August. It’s a great time to be a Geneseo Knight and we’re ready to get back at it with all of you!!

Happy Summer!

-Coach Hunter