The Oswego State volleyball season is underway as the Lakers embark on their fifth season with coach Pat Hanlon at the helm, looking to make a run in the SUNYAC standings.
With six returning players, seven incoming freshmen and one transfer student, the team is balanced between players with college game experience and players with a fresh perspective.
For Hanlon, this is the blueprint to having a successful, competitive team ready to play when SUNYAC play begins on Sept. 25 in Brockport. The Lakers will look to stay competitive, building off of an overall record of 13-20 (4-6 SUNYAC) last season.
"We have a tough bunch of teams in our conference," Hanlon said. "We have been playing tough teams up to this point to get ready."
Senior co-captain Alyssa Brock is playing her fourth season for Oswego State, and has seen many faces in the Laker uniform over that time.
"The team this season has been one of my favorite teams to play on," Brock said.
With the mix of players at all different ages, team chemistry may be difficult to find; but not in this case.
"Everyone on the team is respectful of each other and generally like each other," Brock said. "It is truly special to find a team like that and it makes playing volleyball much more fun when everyone gets along."
Junior Rachel Rossi is the other co-captain, along with Brock, looking to lead the Lakers on and off the court.
"As a captain I have stepped into a leadership role and have become a role model on my team," Brock said. "I also make sure that the energy on the team stays positive, and if something happens where it is not [positive], it is my job along with the other captain to take care of all situations and issues."
The two captains were chosen by their teammates, and Hanlon agreed with their decision.
"They both have great leadership qualities and social skills," Hanlon said.
The seven freshmen on the roster this season have a great deal of talent.
"The first year players have the most potential of any group I’ve ever had," Hanlon said. "The ones who stand out right now are starting middle hitter Chelsea Crump, setter Stephanie Olsheski and libero Kelsey Ihle."
The Lakers will have their work cut out for them if they want to compete in a tough SUNYAC division.
"We will have to play our best volleyball and if we do we should be able to hang with any of them," Hanlon said.
The season has already begun for the Lakers, and the action will only continue to heat up, as they play in the Union College Invitational on Sept. 18 and attend the SUNYAC West Pool Play in Brockport the following weekend.