NESCAC Volleyball Player of the Year: Drennan ’09
On September 9, 2005, Wesleyan volleyball opened its season with a 3-0 victory over Eastern Nazarene College at Johnson and Wales University. In that match, outside hitter Lisa Drennan ’09, a freshman from Ann Arbor, Mich., led the team with 16 kills. This would soon become a familiar sight over Drennan's four years in the red and black.
Last Wednesday, Nov. 12, Drennan was named NESCAC Volleyball Player of the Year for the second time in the past three seasons. She finished the season with 484 kills—a NESCAC-leading average of 4.70 per set—to give her 1,865 over her illustrious career, just 35 shy of Eliza Allen's ’03 team-record 1,900. She is also currently third in Division III in kills per set, a category in which she had led the NCAA earlier this year. Drennan set a team record with 38 kills in the team's season-opening 3-2 victory over Williams, and her 2006 average of 5.56 kills per set is also a record.
Drennan has been named to the all-NESCAC first team for the past three seasons after earning second-team recognition her freshman year. She was also named an honorable mention All-American by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) in 2007 and received AVCA all-New England honors this season. In addition, Drennan was selected as a New England Women's Volleyball Association (NEWVA) first-team All-Star for the third consecutive year and a CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine District I Academic All-American.
“Lisa has been one of the most prolific impact players in our program's history and in the history of NESCAC volleyball,” head coach Gale Lackey wrote in an e-mail. “Aside from the obvious tangible factors — her outstanding athleticism, NESCAC Player of the Year two out of three seasons, All-Region, Honorable Mention All-American, and national leader in kills per set — much of her legacy will include the intangible factors that perhaps only her teammates, coaches, friends, family, and even her volleyball opponents can understand. Lisa loves to play volleyball! She naturally enjoys the rigors and challenges of high-level training and competition. Everyone in the gym with her cannot help but be affected by that kind of passion and commitment. She finds it very rewarding to give everything she has working with her teammates.”
The 2008 season was one full of milestones for the Cardinals. Lackey, who has been at the helm of Cardinal volleyball since 1985, earned her 400th win at Wesleyan with a 3-0 victory over Hamilton Sept. 19. The Cardinal volleyball class of 2009, which also includes hitters Alicia Garrison, Allison Kung, and Allison Heaney as well as libero Anna Williams and setter Emily Dine, is just the fourth in Wesleyan volleyball history to record a win over Amherst in each of its four seasons, joining the classes of 1992, 1993, and 2007. The 2008 Cardinals also clinched a share of the Little Three title for the first time since Wesleyan's outright title in 1992. Wesleyan also snapped a 12-match losing streak to Williams with the thrilling season-opening home victory.
On Sunday, Drennan participated in the 2008 NEWVA Senior Classic at Wellesley College. According to the NEWVA press release, “The annual event features the area's top seniors competing in various competitions leading up to the afternoon's all-star match. Players were selected by a vote of all participating member head coaches following the nomination process.” Drennan was among 32 players (including 15 from the NESCAC) selected from 60 Division III institutions. The match marked the final collegiate contest for one of the greatest players in Wesleyan volleyball history. As Lackey noted in her e-mail, Drennan's impact goes far beyond the walls of Silloway Gymnasium.
“More than one coach from another college told me that they were able to convince their selected seniors to attend and play because they may get the chance to play with Lisa,” Lackey wrote. “That's an impact player!”