The starting six of Keene State College’s volleyball team features new faces that hope to set the tone for the Lady Owls for years to come.
Haley Willumsen and Angela Silveri exceed expectations and cracked the starting lineup to begin the season. The two freshmen from New York just hope they can contribute to the teams’ success.
“We’re just trying to help get wins,” Silveri said.
With nine freshmen on the 15-person roster it is easy to look at this year’s team and deem it a rebuilding year, but head coach Bob Weiner explains how the two players make this year look promising.
“Angela’s leading the team on offense. We didn’t know that was going to happen and we’re pretty excited about it, not to mention she plays multiple positions,” Weiner said of Silveri, who is predominantly an outside hitter.
“Haley is the brains of the outfit. She’s our setter, so she’s one of our two leaders. She runs our offense like a quarterback,” Weiner explained of Willumsen.
But above their ability, Weiner was quick to praise their approach to the game, saying they both work hard to raise their already-high level of play.
Their early accomplishments are even more impressive when you consider that some incoming students struggle with the transition to college life.
Yet Silveri embraced her situation.
“Being an athlete actually made my transition easier. You go in with 16 friends and that’s really helped. From day one they’ve all been friendly and helpful. I actually like that being an athlete keeps me busy,” Silveri said.
At times it’s hard to tell who’s happier with the girls’ success, them or their coach.
“I’m the happiest man in the world right now,” Weiner beamed. “I look forward to coming to practice everyday.”
Willumsen didn’t want all the credit. She said Weiner is the reason she came to KSC and when you look around at all of the young talent the Lady Owls are able to put on the court, you begin to gain respect for Weiner’s recruiting ability.
Weiner doesn’t see it that way.
“I just gave Haley the keys to the Porsche and said, ‘You’re driving’.” Weiner said.
“And I think she’s thrived because she doesn’t worry about what anyone thinks when she’s working. Then Angela, she doesn’t worry about anything. She’s a honey badger.”
Weiner said he thinks the two could be rewarded for their play this season.
“It’s starting to look like Angela could be an all-conference player this year, I hope that’s going to happen. It’s going to depend on our conference finish. The higher we finish the more likely we are to get an all-conference girl,” Weiner said.
For Willumsen, Weiner explained, recognition is harder to come by.
“It’s harder for setters to be an all-conference player and it’s also harder for setters in a two-setter system, which we have because we have another freshman setter who splits time,” Weiner said.
Weiner added, “So with Haley we don’t even look at numbers, it’s about ‘Did we win the game?’ That’s how we look at the setter position. We say, ‘Did we win?’ and if the answer’s yes, then the setters did a good job.”
Despite their average record (8-9) they have lofty goals for themselves, because perhaps the most exciting part of the two freshmen’s’ play so far is that neither of them has reached their potential.
“Our overall goal is to get to the Little East Finals, and that’s not unrealistic,” Weiner said.
Zach Winn can be contacted at