YORK, Pa. — “Nice shot,” “Good work,” claps, cheers, and plenty of encouragement are a huge part of the way the Penn State York women’s volleyball team practices. Coaches and players alike support each other as they work toward being a successful team, and that positive attitude carries over into their games. York will take to the court in their season home opener against Cheyney University of Pennsylvania on Thursday, Sept. 1, in the gym of the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center (The Ruhl Center) at Penn State York. The games are free and open to the public.
For those unable to attend the game, there is a livestream to watch virtually: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLknj9Y7T6cSjrf3WTJimyA
A season to remember
York is returning to the court with a conference record of 11-1, having made history with a variety of team firsts in the 2021-22 season. Under the guidance of Keith Hartman, head coach, and Val Hartman, assistant coach, the duo led their team to being named the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) East Division Champions. York also won its first playoff game and several players earned first-team recognitions, Player of the Year, and Specialist of the Year awards. Keith Hartman was also honored with Coach of the Year in the PSUAC. This is the first time the women’s volleyball coach at York has earned this recognition.
Despite all the positive aspects of the 2021-22 season, the team also dealt with the death of one of their fellow players and Penn State York student, Courtney Groft, who was killed in a car accident as the team prepared for the playoffs. York decided to play the game in honor of Groft and took her picture along to the playoff game against Greater Allegheny. Although they lost, the team made history by participating in their first women’s volleyball playoff game in campus history.
“To just say that I miss Courtney is not enough to speak to who she was and what she meant to my family, this team, and the Penn State York community. Being at the semi-final match for the first time in program history was an emotional event for all of us, and especially for Courtney's teammates that had the courage to continue to play with such amazing effort,” said Keith Hartman. “The outpouring of support from the other PSUAC teams and families and Courtney's family was extremely overwhelming, and as a Penn State alumnus, it makes me incredibly proud. Courtney will be forever loved and missed, but she will never be forgotten, #Love4Court.”
For the 2022-23 season, Groft’s jersey, No. 3, will be displayed on the first seat of the bench where she sat. The team also honors her on the back of their warm-up jerseys that read, “Play for Court,” and her photo hangs in the athletic offices as a tribute to her.
With seven returning players, Keith Hartman hopes for more consistency on the offensive side of the game.
“Each of these ladies is highly versatile and has the ability to attack from any position on the court, which is going to make this team more dynamic to watch this season,” he said.
Hartman’s strategy is to constantly move the positional hitters around to make it much more difficult for the other team’s defense to read the hitters and the element of attack. He is looking forward to catching a lot of teams off guard.
“Our goal is to continue to play at a high level both on the offensive and defensive sides of the game, and with that, provide the winning results this team can achieve,” he said.
Check out the women’s volleyball schedule here: https://pennstateyorksports.com/sports/wvball/2022-23/schedule
In addition to women’s volleyball, Penn State York also offers baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, golf for men and women, and soccer. To learn more about the athletic programs, visit: https://pennstateyorksports.com/landing/index