Western New England players and grads enjoy a special gathering at Alumni Day

Western New England varsity and alumni players pose for a group picture at Alumni Day on March 31, 2012.

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The Western New England women's volleyball program hosted its latest Alumnae match on Saturday, Mar. 31, 2012, in the Alumni Healthful Living Center.

The strength of the program was on full display with nearly a dozen former players from five different graduation years returning to campus to meet, reminisce and compete against the current Golden Bears team.

“Having such strong support from our alums really demonstrates the sense of family and the strong connection to WNE the players gain as a member of the volleyball program,” said Western New England coach Bret Stothart.

“It also reminds our current team members that they are not only representing themselves when wearing the WNE uniform, but they are also representing the many players who have come before them and many others who will follow.”

The current spring roster of nine players battled against the alums in a best-of-five match that proved to be very competitive. The younger team earned took first set, 25-22, despite strong play in the middle from Christina Longto '10 and Lauren Landri '11.

Setter/Right sides Katharina Boes '11 and Jenn Kuehl '05 led the grads back in a hard-fought second set, which was tied 25-25 before Sarah Wainwright '09 notched a kill and a WNE hitting error evened the match at one set apiece.

The alumnae team carried that momentum into the third set and jumped out to an early 9-2 lead with big hits from outside hitters Samantha Shomo '11 and Rachel Cervone '10, cruising to a 25-16 win for the 2-1 advantage.

A close fourth set ensued, but the strong back row play from Keri Ecker '09, Marci Egbert '11 and Julie Jackson '12 helped secure a 25-22 victory for the alumni in the fourth set for a 3-1 victory.

“It was a great night for our volleyball program,” said Stothart. “Everyone had a lot of fun playing this great sport with great friends at this great University. It was a terrific display of the WNE adage: Once a Golden Bear, always a Golden Bear!”

For the first time in program history, the Western New England women's volleyball team held an Alumnae Day on April 17, 2010.