Senior Emily Poole stands on the side of the court in Grace Hall before practice on Wednesday, September 25, 2019. Poole was named Lehigh Volleyball's Outstanding Athlete in 2018. (Jake Martin/B&W Staff)

Emily Poole maintains energy, leadership in her final volleyball season

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Coming off of a season full of individual accolades, senior Emily Poole is looking to bring the same success to the Lehigh women’s volleyball team.

Last season Poole was named Lehigh Volleyball’s 2018 Outstanding Athlete, and she earned an All-Patriot League Second Team selection. She led the team with a .315 hitting percentage, 53 solo blocks and 128 total blocks. 

Although Poole said she appreciated the awards, she is more focused on the team’s goals for the season. 

“Obviously it meant a lot,” Poole said. “The outstanding athlete award meant more to me because it was given by my coaches and teammates that I work with. For the All-Patriot League selection, it would mean a lot at the end of the day, but I’m more focused on team goals such as winning the Patriot League title.”

Poole has a team-high 58 sets played, and she has appeared in all 16 of the Mountain Hawks’ matches this season. Poole has an edge on the defensive side of the ball as well, where she leads the team in solo blocks (11) and is second on the team in total blocks (56). 

She emphasized that reading the other team’s attack is the strongest facet of her game, but she still believes her serves have room for improvement. 

Although Poole was not selected as one of the team captains, coach Alexa Keckler said she admires her leadership and the energy she brings to each practice and match. 

“Her competitiveness and her drive is something she brings to every practice and every game participated in,”  Keckler said. “She brings the work ethic every day—whether we are winning and losing—and it’s a great quality to have on the team.”

“I think she is a great leader on and off the court and brings a lot of energy even when we are down,” sophomore outside hitter Victoria Jepson said. “She has that mentality that we are going to win whether we are winning or losing. It’s inspiring for the rest of the team.”

Poole said her favorite memory from this season was traveling to the Sports Imports Classic at Ohio State. Although the team did not win a match, the players were able to use the tournament as a team bonding experience. 

Keckler said she is going to miss the enthusiasm Poole has brought to the volleyball team for the past four years. 

“She’s got a competitive swag and owns her games,” Keckler said. “That’s something that’s pretty awesome. She’s honest among herself and her teammates, and she takes criticism in a mature manner. She’s just a straight shooter.”

Poole said her focus for the rest of the season is to have fun with her teammates and coaches one last time. She wants to be remembered as a player on which her teammates can rely both on and off the court and as someone who always has a positive attitude at practices and games.

Poole and the Mountain Hawks hold a 9-7 record and are coming off victories in their first two Patriot League matchups against Lafayette and Bucknell, respectively. 

The Lehigh women’s volleyball team resumes Patriot League play in Washington, D.C., against American on Oct. 4.

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