Sheila Gisbrecht enters her tenth season as the Elms College head Men’s and Women’s Volleyball coach.
The Blazers opened the season going 2-2 at the SUNY-Polytechnic Tournament, collecting wins over Wells and Cairn. Elms opened NECC play with a 3-1 road win at Eastern Nazarene, followed by a three-set sweep over Emmanuel (Mass.) in their 2017 home opener. The Blazers collected four non-conference victories, including three-straight wins over Bard, Mount Ida, and Emmanuel, along with a sweep of John Jay and an NECC win over Southern Vermont. Elms picked up five straight victories via three-set sweep from March 4-March 1, featuring wins over Lesley and Newbury. In the postseason, the third-seed Blazers swept Southern Vermont in the Quarterfinals, and then upset second-seeded Regis College, 3-1, in the semifinals to earn their first trip to the NECC Championship match since the 2013 season. In the title game, the Blazers battled top-seeded Endicott during a 3-0 loss. Four Blazers received All-Conference honors, highlighted by freshman Audrye Alejandro, who became the first player in program history to win the awards after leading the NECC in digs (301) and digs pet set (3.24). Juniors Gabriel Reis Levy and Daniel Bondarovsky were selected First Team All-NECC, while sophomore John Dunphy claimed Second Team All-NECC status.
During the 2016 season, the Blazers opened the season going 2-2 at the SUNY-Polytechnic Tournament, collecting wins over Bard College and Sage College. Elms opened their home slate with a three-set sweep of City College of New York, which kicked off a run of six straight victories, including a 3-0 run at the Keuka College Invitational on January 29-30. Elms opened conference play with a 3-1 win over Newbury College, followed by a five-set win over Sage. Elms battled in conference action, sweeping Newbury and Lesley University, while taking Endicott College and Regis College to four sets. The Blazers earned a berth in the NECC tournament, claiming the fourth-seed and a duel with top-seed Endicott College. Against Endicott, the Blazers captured a win in the first set, but were unable to fend off the Gulls as Endicott grabbed the 3-1 win. Sophomores Gabriel Reis Levy and Daniel Bondarovsky earned All-Conference recognition following the season.
In 2015, after back-to-back losses opened the season, the Blazers rebounded with a pair of victories, defeating Mount Ida (3-1) and Bard (3-0). Elms returned to the win column when Mount Ida visited Picknelly Arena on March 5th, where the Blazers downed the Mustangs in four sets. Elms swept the season series against Lesley University, picking up a five-set victory at home, followed by a three-set sweep of the Lynx to wrap the 2015 season.
In 2012, Coach Gisbrecht’s squad made men’s volleyball history when it won its second New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) tournament championship in four years and earned an automatic bid to the first-ever NCAA Division III Championship in the sport. Coach Gisbrecht, who directed the team to a 9-3 league record and an overall record of 20-8 which tied the program’s record for wins in a single season, was named the NECC Coach of the Year for the second time in four years.
Since taking over the program in the 2009 season, Coach Gisbrecht has built Elms’ men’s volleyball team into one of the elite teams in the region. Her 2009 squad notched a 20-13 record (tied for the program’s highest single-season win total) and won the inaugural NECC Championship, as well as the school’s first-ever Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championship.
Coach Gisbrecht, who was named NECC Coach of the Year in 2009, has had one player garner NECC Player of the Year honors, four players earn rookie of the year honors, and had eight players named First-Team All-NECC, three named Second Team All-NECC and seven players named Honorable Mention All-NECC.
Prior to Elms College, Coach Gisbrecht served as the assistant coach of Ohio Wesleyan University’s women’s volleyball program for 11 seasons. During Coach Gisbrecht’s tenure, the Battling Bishops posted five 20-plus win seasons.
Coach Gisbrecht’s collegiate and professional playing credentials are equally impressive. During her collegiate career, she was a four-year volleyball letter winner at Ohio Wesleyan, a three-time All-North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) selection, and she capped her career by earning NCAC Player of the Year honors as a senior in 1994.
Also a four-year track and field letter winner for the Battling Bishops, Coach Gisbrecht was a two-time NCAA All-American as well as an Academic All-American. In 2005, she was inducted into Ohio Wesleyan’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
Coach Gisbrecht earned her bachelor’s degree with a teaching certification from Ohio Wesleyan and received her master’s degree in exercise and sports studies at Smith College. In addition to her coaching duties, she serves as the athletic department’s strength and conditioning coach.