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KSC Holds Alumni Volleyball Match

KEENE, N.H. 8/19/09 - Former Keene State women’s volleyball players will get together on Saturday, August 29, for a first-ever alumni match against the current Owl team.

Bob Weiner, KSC’s fifth-year coach, is expecting 12 to 15 alums to play in the game scheduled for 2 p.m. at Spaulding Gym. “I want to salute the women who helped build the program,” he said. “I think this is a great way to get them connected with the present team, because it’s a program to be proud of.”

Weiner said the alumni game came about because the NCAA allows teams to have a scrimmage, and Keene State needed someone to play. “I thought, ‘What better than to organize an alumni game?’” he said. “I’ve been here long enough to have worked with some top-level alumni players.”

Weiner enlisted Kristen Mullins ‘03, a former four-year player and assistant coach, and Shelly Ellis ‘07, a standout outside hitter to help recruit alums for the game. “I was thrilled when Coach Weiner told me about the game,” said Mullins, who still lives in Keene and teaches in Nelson. “I truly miss playing on the Keene State court. I have memories I’ll never forget and always want to relive.”

Mullins, who also coaches at Turners Falls (Mass.) High school, has kept in touch with several of her teammates. “Many are looking forward to coming back,” she said. “A few are worried about their playing ability and not being as sharp as they used to be. But I told them it isn’t about being at the same level you were in college, but demonstrating to the current players that Keene State volleyball was and will always be in our lives.”

Mullins reports that several alums are still playing or coaching. Marla Malinauskas ‘02, Sandy Bernard, Stacy Parr ‘05, Abbe Robichaud Bryant ‘03, Lauren Graham ‘07, and Kelly Yankowski ‘08, are all coaching various high schools, junior high, or junior Olympic teams. Many participate in winter or summer leagues, or play in area tournaments.

“If I could come back and play again like I did years ago, I would be thrilled,” said Mullins. “At the time, all of the blood, sweat, and tears were overwhelming and stressful, but it was 100% worth every minute.”

Weiner hopes to gauge the interest in the alumni match and invite alums from different eras back to Spaulding Gym in the years ahead. As far as this year’s game is concerned, Weiner feels the alums might give the current Owls a run for their money. “I know that several of our alums are still playing, and they’re going to try and teach our kids a thing or two,” he said.

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