Garrett College Ready to Continue Rebuilding Process

Garrett College’s women’s volleyball program went 0-18 during last year’s reboot. Despite the lack of wins, second-year Lady Lakers head coach Brittany Jackson said the 2022 team provided the base to build a winner.

“We laid a good foundation last year in reinventing the program,” said Jackson, noting the program had been dormant since COVID. ‘I can see us having a great season and bringing this program back.”

Sophomore outside hitter Daphne Harman, a Northern Garrett High graduate who starred on last year’s squad, is the only Lady Laker returner.

“I’m very excited to have Daphne returning,” said Jackson. “She made a big impact for us last year, and she’s been a true leader for the new girls on the team. She has a great work ethic – and she’s ready to get working.”

Jackson recruited two defensive specialists – Brookelyn Keller and Sadie Portillo – from Keyser High in West Virginia.

“Brookelyn is going to be a really strong passer for us,” said Jackson, who coached Keller as a 13-year-old in travel ball. “Sadie is going to be the backbone of our defensive line.”

Baltimore’s Taz’Shawna Smith is another defensive specialist for the Lady Lakers.

Swanton resident Aiyana Yoder, who was homeschooled, looks to be a major presence on the front line.

“She’s definitely one of our stronger front-row blockers and hitters,” said Jackson of Yoder, who is an outside/middle hitter. “She can be a really good driving force for us defensively.”

Southern Garrett High graduate Alexia Wolf is slated to be a setter/outside hitter.

“Alexia is one of our leading offensive hitters,” said Jackson. “She can run the court, set up our hitters, and is very athletic, high energy, and a great motivator.”

New Yorker Lily Fialkovic will play as an outside/middle hitter.

“She’s from the high school where I taught,” said Jackson. “I think Lily has a lot of great potential. She brings great height to the front row and a strong swing to the outside and middle.”

D’Nya Slaughter, who grew up in Washington, D.C., will play as a right-side hitter and also work as a back-up setter.

“The way she puts in the work, it will be great to watch her grow and make her dreams come true,” said Jackson of Slaughter.

Jackson said Baltimore middle hitter Janiya Burton is “very athletic.”

“She’s going to be a great line of defense in the middle,” Jackson said of Burton.

The Lady Lakers open their season Thursday with a 6 p.m. match at Allegany College of Maryland.

“We’re hoping to really compete and be a force in the conference again,” said Jackson. “I’m excited to see the progress we’re going to make.”