Last Saturday afternoon, Kat Montemurro ’13 and Allie Coleman ’13 played their final game for the Garnet women’s volleyball team, as they finished their 2012 season with a 3-1 loss to Moravian College in the ECAC semifinal match. The team ended with a 20-7 overall record and an 8-2 record in Centennial Conference play.
Montemurro led the offensive push with fifteen kills, coupled with Coleman’s thirty-three assists. Adding onto the offensive attacks, Madison Heppe ’16 and Kate Amodei ’15 tallied two service aces each. On the defensive side, Danielle Sullivan ’14 and Chastity Hopkins ’15 led with twenty digs and three block assists, respectively.
Looking back at the season, Heppe considers the team’s win against Eastern to be the highlight. “Eastern was a nationally ranked team, tenth in the nation, and we came out strong,” she recalled. Head coach Harleigh Chwastyk also considers her team’s victory against Eastern as the season’s most memorable moment, adding, “We garnered a lot of respect from others in the region as well as nationally.”
Not only was this game a hard-fought win, but it was also a popular favorite amongst the Swarthmore community. “It may have been the largest crowd we have had for a volleyball match,” said Chwastyk.
On the other hand, Coleman will never forget the team’s annual battle against Haverford. “They were the powerhouse of the Conference,” she said. “We played a really solid game.”
Coleman certainly has more than a few moments that she’ll remember from her four years as the starting setter. As one of two remaining four-year seniors on the team, she’s not only watched the team improve over the year, but also seen the program evolve over her college career. “The freshman have improved not just in terms of skill set, but also in terms of being comfortable on the court,” she said. “Every year…we become more talented.”
Across the board, players and coach alike were incredibly proud of the team’s growth. “I’m pleased about the ball control and defense,” said Chwastyk. Coming into this season with three less primary passers than last year, the team focused to hone these two skills throughout the season. “Our focus from day one has always been ball control and defense,” said Chwastyk.
Meanwhile, Heppe noticed the team’s growing consistency. “The team got better at making less mistakes – at not giving the other team so many free points and making sure we put the ball in play,” she said.
However large or small the leaps that both the team and the program have made, there is no denying that Coleman, along with Montemurro, played a massive role in shaping both paths. “Both are incredibly dedicated, passionate, competitive, and intense,” said Chwastyk. The statistics certainly prove their importance to the team. Since Chwastyk first began coaching at Swarthmore, Coleman and Montemurro make up the first class to lead their team to four consecutive conference championship matches, four ECAC championship matches, and beat a nationally ranked team.
Despite having only spent one season so far with the two players, Heppe also recognizes the impact both of them have made. “Allie and Kat were both amazing. I could not have asked for better,” she said. To sum them up simply, “They both had positive energies, always made smart players, and loved volleyball.”
When asked if she wanted to leave any last words of advice to her teammates, Coleman responded, “It’s important to maintain the underdog mentality…that’s what separates the good from the great. The talent’s going to be there, so it’s about maintaining the intangibles – like the chemistry, and the passion.”
Saturday night proved bittersweet for her, who admitted, “I definitely shed a few tears.” However, as her final volleyball season has finally wound down, she leaves with one last promise: “I’ll always be playing volleyball.