By: Meaghan McNichol – Sports Writer
The Dayton women’s volleyball team has spiced up their roster for the upcoming fall season with Clemson transfer, Megan Giardina.
Giardina, a 6-foot setter from Pickerington, Ohio, decided to come back close to home and seize an opportunity with a new program for the fall of 2015.
Giardina redshirted her first year year at Clemson and spent two full seasons there before she decided that transferring was in her best interest.
“My decision to transfer wasn’t really difficult because I knew that at this point this is what I wanted,” Giardina said. “I wanted to go to a good volleyball program and still have the academic side of it and Dayton was a great fit with all of that.”
Head coach Tim Horsmon coached at the University of Maryland when Giardina was graduating from high school and showed great interest in her during her recruitment process back in 2012.
Although she ultimately chose Clemson, Horsmon didn’t forget about Giardina’s talent. When her coach from Mintonette, the club volleyball team she played on in high school, called and informed Horsmon that she was interested in transferring, he was almost instantly positive she would be a good fit for the Flyers.
“We had a need, we like to have at least two setters on the roster at all times to be able to be competitive in the position and those kind of things, so she slid right in,” assistant coach Audrey Ludwig said.
After watching recent video of Giardina, the coaches agreed she had improved and would be a useful asset to the team.
“I loved working with Megan right away because I would ask her to do something and then 30 seconds later it would be done,” Ludwig said. “She is super proactive, really on top of it.”
Ludwig is working with Giardina during the offseason to prepare her to start over in the fall as a Flyer. In just two weeks working with the team, she already sees a difference in her game.
“I already feel like I’m doing things differently and getting better. I think by the end of spring I’ll be somewhat of a different player, in a good way,” Giardina said.
Despite her initial nerves, Giardina has found that Dayton is the perfect fit for her.
She feels that the team’s constant feedback is a tremendous help to her improvement and feeling comfortable.
The team lost two seniors, Isolde Hannan and Rachel Jones, and gained two first years going into next season, making Giardina one of three new faces on the team.
“Every year is a different feel for a team, even if you return a lot of the same players, there’s always a new feel, a new goal and a new environment with that team,” Ludwig said.
Ludwig believes that come next season Giardina will play a huge role on the team. She admires Giardina’s work ethic and drive for competition.
“We see her in a role where she can contribute a ton, we want the best player that makes our team the best team and that’s going to play on the court whether that’s in a 6-2 offensive with two setters playing or a 5-1 offense with one setter playing,” Ludwig said.
Bringing her energy from Clemson to the courts here at UD, Giardina plans to take on a leadership role next season and be the best player for the team.
“I plan to take on a leadership role on the court with a positive attitude, by encouraging my teammates at all times and just being competitive,” Giardina said.
With three years of eligibility left, Giardina will take her experience from Clemson, continue to work on her skills and succeed as a Flyer.