JOHNSTOWN - The Fulton-Montgomery Community College Lady Raiders volleyball team is experiencing a changing of the guard within the coaching staff for the 2013 season.
Keeping with the kindred spirit, sisters Rachael Salvione and Tina Olyer will be replacing sisters Holly Livingston and Heather Loucks as coaches of the team this fall. Salvione and Olyer are FMCC alumni, and spent a lot of time around the volleyball team in 2012 watching their sister compete for the Raiders.
"We lacked a lot of fight last year but we had a lot of heart," said Salvione regarding the 2012 campaign. "If you want to look at it by wins and losses it wasn't that great, but we measured it by how the team came together, how we played, and I have five returning players from last year coming back which I think is really going to help us this year."
Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s Sarah Wyzomirski (23) plays the ball over the net as Herkimer Community College’s Brynn Hlozansky (8) and Ashleigh Copeland (10) go up for the block during a Oct. 21, 2012 match Mountain Valley Athletic Conference Tournament at FMCC. Wyzomirski is a Fonda-Fultonville graduate, while Hlozansky and Copeland graduated from Johnstown and Oppenheim-Ephratah respectively. (The Leader-Herald)
Caitlyn Hayward (Johnstown) and Gabby Hale (Johnstown) return this season. The duo's defensive skills should continue to be major asset for FMCC. Emily Robinson (Edinburg) and Sarah Wyzomirski (Fonda-Fultonville) are also back this fall, along with Shelby Lyons (Johnstown).
"We are looking to Shelby to run the offense with her setting abilities," Salvione said.
Multiple freshmen will be joining Salvione's squad, including Whitney Ostrander (Mayfield). Salvione is looking for the 5'11'' freshman to be a big player in the middle for FMCC in terms of helping with the offense and defending the net.
"I just think our biggest focus this year is running a quicker offense," said Salvione. "Now that we have the height we're going to be able to defend the court a little bit easier."
Elizabeth Hayward (Johnstown) and Taylor Wetsky (Fonda-Fultonville) are also new to the team this year.
Salvione says the 2013 edition of Lady Raider volleyball is full of talent, including players that are talented in several different positions. Look for the Lady Raiders to change up the lineup quite often throughout the course of the season.
While the main goal for the team this year is to notch a few more victories than in 2012, Salvione says the ultimate goal for this season is to go onto the Mohawk Valley Conference tournament and bring a conference championship back to FMCC. The last time the FMCC volleyball team achieved this feat was in 1997, when Rachael Salvione was suiting up as a freshman for the Lady Raiders.
"We have a great group of young ladies that are hungry to play, and they all have wonderful attitudes," said Salvione.
The Lady Raiders kick off their season on Sept. 4 at SUNY Delhi.