September 6th, 2022
GC reboots women's volleyball program
Lakers host ACM's Trojans Thursday at 6 p.m. in 2022 season-opener
Reboots are all the rave in movies and on television. Garrett College is joining this trend in the form of a post-COVID women's volleyball relaunch, with this reboot including a totally new cast of characters.
"It's exciting – a chance to make something new," said first-year Lakers head coach Brittany Jackson. "I have a blank slate – the potential is endless to make something great out of this."
Jackson is melding together a core of veteran volleyball players with natural athletes new to the sport, including three players off last season's Western Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference champion women's basketball team. The entire roster is composed of players classified as freshmen for volleyball since this is everyone's first collegiate volleyball season.
Jackson can depend on three experienced hitters – outside hitters Daphne Harman (Northern Garrett HS/Finzel) and Amari Edmonds (Academy for College and Career Exploration, Baltimore), along with middle hitter Abiyona Hall (Wekiva HS, Apopka, FL) – and a veteran setter in Sierra Smith (Largo HS, Largo, MD).
"Daphne Harman brings a strong offensive game and a great defensive presence," said Jackson. "Amari is going to be another strong offensive player for us.
"Abiyona is going to be a rock-solid middle blocker for us. She'll be great at the net," added Jackson. "Sierra's going to run that court as our setter – and she has very good skill sets to do so."
Middle hitter Aliyah Tucker (Randallstown HS, Randallstown, MD), outside defensive specialist Harmoni Swain (James Monroe HS, Fredericksburg, VA), and right-side outside hitter Josie Canales (Lake Minneola High School, Minneola, FL) are the three Lakers who helped power the women's basketball team to a 23-win campaign last season.
"The basketball girls that are joining our team this year are very well-conditioned athletes," said Jackson. "They're very coachable and they're picking up the different skill sets. I see them already holding their own on the court."
Sophomore right-side defensive specialist Deja McKoy (Reservoir HS, Bowie, MD) and defensive outside specialist Taniyah Trayham (Mergenthaler High School, Baltimore) round out the squad.
"They're just two great high-energy players that will contribute to overall team spirit and also be great assets on the court," Jackson said of the pair.
Jackson said her Lakers are already developing a team personality.
"I would describe us as that scrappy team that's not going to give up," said Jackson. "It's going to be a battle to the last point. We've got the athletes, the potential and the right attitude."
Josh Hanson, who previously worked within the Potomac State College women's volleyball program, will be Jackson's assistant coach.
The Lakers, who host Allegany College of Maryland on September 8th at 6 p.m., play four home matches over the first 10 days of the season. GC hosts Howard Community College September 13th at 6 p.m. and has a September 17th tri-match against College of Southern Maryland (10 a.m.) and Community College of Beaver County (3 p.m.).
"With those matches being so close together, it's a matter of making sure we stay focused and dedicated, working hard every day and getting better," said Jackson, who's liked what she's seen so far in practice.
"We're working hard to get it all together, get it all figured out, and learn to play with each other," said Jackson. "I want to see this team show the potential that it has more than anything – just be good competition. I want the other schools to be on the look-out when they play us."