Golden Eagles Volleyball Signs Four Players

Chris Rossetti

Chris Rossetti

Published January 1, 1970 12:00 am

CLARION, Pa. – Clarion University women’s volleyball coach Jennifer Mills announced the signing of four players for the 2015 season in the Fall 2014 signing period.

Joining the two-time defending PSAC West Champion Golden Eagles next year will be setter Leah Vensel from McDowell High School in Erie, Pa., middle hitter Lauryn Driscoll from Hopewell High School in Aliquippa, Pa., outside hitter Marissa Robertson from Centennial High School in Columbus, Ohio, and middle hitter Olivia Olson, the younger sister of PSAC West Freshman of the Year Gabrielle Olson, from Pine-Richland High School outside of Pittsburgh.

“We are very pleased with this class of student-athletes,” Clarion’s eighth-year head coach Jennifer Mills, who was won the PSAC West Coach of the Year honor in each of the last two seasons, said. “Not only do they bring with them wealth of experience on the court but all are stellar students who will help to carry on our tradition of strong academic performance.

“On the court, this group will provide our team with added physicality, skill and depth in all three hitting positions, and, with the addition of a strong setter, we will also get immediate depth and competition in a very important role that has been left open due to the graduation of Laura Subject.”

The 5-foot, 7-inch Vensel, who plans on majoring in Pre-Optometry/Biology, was a four-year starter at McDowell and holds the school-record for assists. She was also a four-time All-Region Selection, a three-time All-District 10 selection and a two-time All-State (2013, 2014) choice. In addition, she is a four-year honor roll student who has spent four years in McDowell’s College Honors Program. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and a School Ambassador. The daughter or Gerry and Carney Vensel, Vensel plays club volleyball for Epic Volleyball Club and Pittsburgh Elite Volleyball Club.

“She is a very strong setter with a high volleyball IQ,” Mills said. “She has grown up around the sport and has a very steady court presence. We look for her to come in and challenge immediately at the setter position.”

Driscoll, who is 6-foot, plans on majoring in Accounting and Finance at Clarion. A member of the Pittsburgh Elite Volleyball Club as well, she helped Hopewell to the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals and was named an All-State Middle Hitter this past season. She was also a two-time WPIAL All-Star and a two-time All-Section first-team selection. A high-honor roll student, Driscoll also is a three-time Scholar-Athlete Award winner, she was the Mid-Atlantic Conference MVP Middle Blocker in club play.

“Lauryn is an athletic middle hitter with an extremely high upside,” Mills said. “She is great off one foot, and we will look for her to compete for the Middle One position. She had a willingness to learns and grow as a player.”

The 5-11 Robertson, the daughter of Amy and Rodney Robertson, plans on majoring in Secondary Education/Math at Clarion.

A multi-sport athlete who also plays basketball and runs track and field, Robertson was a four-year varsity starter at Centennial High School, and a four-time first-team All-City performer, a four-time MVP, a three-time Columbus Dispatch Athlete of the Week and a second-team All-District selection in 2014. She helped her team to two city championships and a city runner-up finish. A multi-sport athlete,

A talented artist as well earning third-place in the Congressional District Art show. In addition, she is an Honor Roll student and a Scholar-Athlete and volunteers as at House Bread and Soup Kitchen, The Franklin County Dog Shelter and Youth at the Booth Poll Worker.

“Marissa is an athletic, six-rotation outside hitter who will not only provide depth and competition in the gym but will look to compete immediately in the roll,” Mills said. “She has a strong work ethic and a wonderful attitude about growth.”

Olson, who is 6-2, plans on majoring in Education/Special Education. A member of the Pittsburgh Elite Volleyball Club as well, she was an All-State selection, a first-team All-WPIAL choice and a first-team All-Section recipient this past season while helping Pine-Richland to the WPIAL quarterfinals.

The daughter of Matt and Amy Olson, Olson has also been an Honor Roll student and won the Family and Consumer Science Academic Award in 2012.

“Olivia, who will be joining her sister Gabby, is a physical middle hitter who has shown continuous improvement over the past two seasons,” Mills said. “She has a good arm and moves well laterally. She is a highly coachable athlete who is comfortable playing at a high level. We look for her to come in and compete immediately.

Clarion is coming off a 30-5 season and a 20-2 mark in the PSAC West. It was the Golden Eagles second consecutive 30-win campaign and their third since 2010. The PSAC West title was also Clarion’s third since 2010 – the Golden Eagles also won the PSAC Title, the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Title and advanced to the NCAA D-II Elite Eight for the first time in school history in 2010. Clarion went to the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament for the second consecutive season this year while making its sixth straight appearance in the NCAA postseason and its 11th in the past 13 years.

The Golden Eagles graduate three players from the 2014 team including Subject, the two-time PSAC West Athlete of the Year, who was also the 2014 Daktronics NCAA D-II Atlantic Region Player of the Year and an honorable mention Daktronics All-America as well as the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year. Also graduating are starting outside hitter Carlie Bieranowski and middle hitter Laura Duncan.

Key returnees for Clarion in 2015 should be Gabrielle Olson, the PSAC West Freshman of the Year, Morgan Seybold, a third-team Daktronics All-America Libero, Catherine Ferragonio, Taylor Braunagel, Mattison Thornton and Abbey Cox.

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