2018 marks the first time since the early 1980’s that a SUNY Broome Volleyball team has advanced to the national tournament.
SUNY Broome Women’s Volleyball brought home the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Regional Championship title on Oct. 28. The Hornets head to nationals for the Division III Volleyball Championship scheduled Nov. 8 through 10 in Rochester, Minnesota.
According to broomehornets.com, SUNY Broome President Kevin E. Drumm commented, “A regional NJCAA Championship is an awesome accomplishment for any community college athletic team, but especially for a college of our size,” adding, “We are ‘Hornet Proud’ of all of our team members!”
The Hornets regional championship match over Fingerlakes Community College was, notably, pulled off in a straight set sweep. Set scores were 25-16, 25-16 and 25-19.
Leading the offense with 13 kills was Mackinzie Mee, followed by Rayna Pouliot with eight. Brianna Kosinski had 33 assists, and dig leader was Mckenzi Donahue with 19. Paige Taylor had six blocks.
Following the match, Brianna Kosinski was named Tournament MVP. Mackinzie Mee, Rayna Pouliot and Paige Taylor were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Prior to regional pool play, Mackinzie Mee and Brianna Kosinski were named with All-Regional Team honors.
SUNY Broome Volleyball Head Coach Maegen Eddinger, a 2003 Owego Free Academy graduate and in her fifth season coaching, was named Regional Coach of the Year.
Eddinger commented, “I admire so many coaches in our region, so it means so much that I received this award,” adding, “Without my players and the support of the assistant coaches, this season would not be the way it has turned out.”
During her senior year at Owego, Eddinger explained that she was recruited by Coach Colleen Cashman to play volleyball at SUNY-Oneonta. After graduation, Eddinger stayed in Oneonta as assistant coach to Cashman.
Interestingly, Cashman attended SUNY Broome and was a member of the team that went on to nationals 35 years ago.
This season, six new players make up Hornets volleyball, and where only two players returned from the 2017 team. Comprised of players from different high schools around the area, some players also bring Whirlwind Volleyball Club experience to the court.
Eddinger shared, “Being a two year school, every year is different,” and added that she usually only has about two returners each season.
Eddinger said, “This year’s team has really embraced everything I want our program to be about. With only eight players, each person is incredibly important to our success.”
Eddinger explained that the beginning of the season was a bit of a puzzle as she changed up players for the critical middle spots. Acknowledging that her team is not the tallest as compared to others, and where the tallest is 5’8”, Eddinger said the team embraced her strategy and improved each day.
Eddinger remarked, “Our team is known for our defense and led the region in total digs, too, and along with mental toughness, have pushed their game to a new level.”
Eddinger shared that not only have her players improved each time they take the court, in addition, “They have grown as people, too, and that is rewarding,” and acknowledged, too, that the support of family and friends is a key ingredient of the team’s success.
Twelve teams from all over the country will play at nationals, and Eddinger said that they have previously been matched against two of those teams. The Hornets were victorious twice versus Northampton, and a Jamestown match was a five-set battle that ended in a loss.
Paige Taylor, a 2018 graduate of Owego Free Academy, describes the SUNY Broome Volleyball team as, “Passionate, energetic and competitive.”
In her first year, Taylor explained that there was an adjustment period, however, “We all bonded quickly, and everyone brings to the court their own individual talents.”
Practice sessions, Taylor explained, are for two-plus hours every weekday, and remarked, “We practice hard and everyone gives their best effort, and we actually look forward to practicing together because we all get along.”
Taylor also extends acknowledgement to Coach Eddinger for, “Always being positive and working with us to improve.”
A Liberal Arts student at SUNY Broome, Taylor plans to play a second season for the Hornets before transferring to another college where she hopes to continue her volleyball career. She was also a member of championship volleyball teams at OFA.
While traveling through the Oneonta area after a match this season, Eddinger said the team met Cashman for dinner. Cashman shared her personal experiences about playing at the 1983 NJCAA National Tournament.
Eddinger is proud to have her team make the history books for the SUNY Broome Volleyball program, and commented, “It is something that the players can be proud of for the rest of their lives, like the pride Coach Cashman showed that day.”
Eddinger continued, “It feels like a full-circle moment to be able to go from a player of Coach Cashman’s to now coaching her Alma Mater, and then bringing the team back to nationals for the first time since she was on the team.”