Over the past 25 seasons, the Mount Vernon Nazarene College women's volleyball program has established itself as one of the premier small college programs in the Midwest. The Lady Cougars have posted a 686-304 overall record (.693 winning percentage) during the program's history, and the team has won five conference championships in the past seven years alone.
The 2000 season was no exception to MVNC's winning tradition as the Lady Cougars posted a 38-12 overall record and won a share of their third straight American Mideast Conference title. In postseason play, MVNC won the AMC Tournament, advanced to the semifinals of the National Christian College Athletic Association national tournament, and played in the finals of the NAIA Region IX Tournament.
Head coach Paul Swanson must replace three seniors (Amy Shearrow, Scarlett Habrun, and Jai Holland) who finished their careers with a 178-36 record while wearing the blue and green uniforms of the Lady Cougars. However, MVNC will return 10 players with plenty of experience including five starters.
In addition to the returning players, the Lady Cougars have landed their first recruit for the 2001 season as MVNC has signed Amber Thorne.
Thorne, a 5-foot-9 middle hitter from Salem, Ohio, helped to lead Salem High School to the state semifinals in 1999. The two-year varsity player was named to the All-District and All-Metro Athletic Conference First Teams and the Columbiana County Second Team as a senior after compiling 96 kills, 26 blocks, and 24 aces.
"Amber is a great person to add to our program," said Swanson, who has posted a 577-207 record in 17 seasons at MVNC. "We have a great tradition of high quality people on our team, and she will definitely add to that tradition."
"It is great to sign someone who will add to your team in so many ways," Swanson continued. "She is a fine player from an excellent high school program, and we are looking forward to her contributions on the court. She is also a great student, and a spiritually-committed person with a wonderful personality. We are anticipating a multidimensional contribution to our team from her."
In addition to playing volleyball, Thorne is a two-year member of the varsity basketball team and a four-year member of the varsity track team. She is also a member of National Honor Society, and she was selected to Salem's homecoming court.
"There are several reasons why I chose to attend MVNC," said Thorne of her college choice. "MVNC has a good biology program, and most importantly, an excellent Christian environment. I am also looking forward to being a member of the volleyball team."
With a veteran group of returning players and a quality recruit like Thorne joining the team, the future looks bright for the Lady Cougars.