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A New Standard
The new standard of A-State volleyball started off quickly during the 2006 season. The Lady Pioneers won their first 22 matches en route to a 32-3 season. The Blue and Gold won four tournaments and were ranked as high as #5 in the NJCAA Division III poll. ASC earned the #1 seed in the Region III Tournament and finished as the Region III Division III runner-ups.
Individual honors were just as impressive as Brianne McMahon (Buffalo/Sweet Home) was named honorable mention NJCAA All-American and Region III Player of the Year. Jessica Bonczar and Yurika Toyodome also joined McMahon on the All-Region and All-WNYAC teams. Head Coach Gene Doorley was named the Region III Coach of the Year and the AVCA Northeast Coach of the Year.
With four players returning from the 2006 squad hopes were high for another successful season in 2007. The Lady Pioneers didn't disappoint. The team started the season by winning eight of their first ten matches and then went on to win their next 17 matches. ASC won five of their seven regular season games to seal the #1 seed in the Region III Division III Tournament for the 2nd year in a row with a 30-4 record. The Blue and Gold was a constant in the National poll and finished the season ranked #5.
In the postseason, the Lady Pioneers swept through the Region III Tournament without dropping a game. The Lady Pioneers were a perfect 5-0 (15 straight games won) and qualified for their first appearance at the National Tournament since 1977.
Seeded #6 in the National Tournament the Lady Pioneers gave Brookhaven College (National Champs in 2004 & 2005) and Central Lakes College -Brainerd (2007 National Champs) all they could handle in pool play. ASC lost their games to each team by a combined 12 points (the team lost three 28-30 matches). The Pioneers bounced back to take their final match of pool play from Suffolk CC -Selden to finish the year with a 36-6 record and tied for 5th in the nation.
McMahon repeated as the Region III Player of the year and she was joined on the first team by teammates Elaina Braun (Waterloo) and Jenni Jerome (Syracuse/Westhill). All three were also selected All-WNYAC and have been nominated for All-American status. Coach Doorley was named NJCAA Division III District A Coach of the Year.
The sophomore class of McMahon, Braun, Shannon Jablonski (Cheektowaga), and Natalie Gregory (Iroquois) finishes their career with a 68-9 record (.883 winning percentage). The quartet led ASC to back-to-back #1 seeds in the Regional Tournament, seven regular season tournament titles, two straight seasons of being ranked in the top ten of the NJCAA Division III poll, and ended the elusive 30-year quest for a trip to the National Championship.
- McMahon finishes her career with 612 kills (3.6/game), 679 digs (3.9/game), and 121 aces (.7/game) in 172 games.
- Braun finishes her career with 371 kills (1.8/game), 1,623 assists (8/game), 431 digs (2.1/game), and 94 aces (.47/game) in 204 games.
- Jablonski finishes her career with 456 kills (2.2/game), 773 digs (3.8/game), and 160 aces (.8/game) in 204 games.
- Gregory finishes her career with 303 kills (1.5/game), 460 digs (2.3/game), and 86 aces (.4/game) in 204 games.
Coach Doorley will have to replace his standard of excellence class of sophomores as the Lady Pioneers continue their march towards bringing home a National Championship.