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For Brandywine Heights High School grad Eden Reichard, it’s been a very successful four years on the DeSales University women’s volleyball team. As well as helping her team qualify for the league playoffs this season, she is closing in on the DeSales University all-time digs record.
With a totla of 1,888 digs, she is still 210 away from the all-time record set by Kerri Andrews who graduated in 2009. With not much time left for Reichard, it will be a tough record to catch, but she will at least finish her career second on the all-time list.
Most of those digs came her sophomore year on when she made the switch to the libero position. It didn’t take her lone to make the transition to the new position.
“Honestly, I’m not sure what the current record is, but even just being second place is definitely an achievement I’m proud of,” said Reichard. “Before college, I’ve never played in the libero position so I’m extremely happy that I was able to switch positions and play in that position just as well.”
Reichard started playing volleyball in fifth grade for TOPS and continued on though middle school, then Brandywine Heights High School, as well as a season on J-Stroke, a club team.
She was a top notch player for the Brandywine High team, Reichard was named the Team’s MVP twice, and earned spots on the All-Berks, All-District and All-State teams, but it was the winning tradition there that she remembers the most.
“Every year, our team was at the top of our division and playing in county and state playoffs,” said Reichard. “I also remember my coach (Mike Pienta) and the impact he has had on me. He was always hard on me, but now I look back and realize he was like that because he cared and wanted all of us to play to our fullest potential. I don’t know what kind of player I would’ve been like if I didn’t have that...thanks Coach.”
When she graduated in 2009, Eden headed off to DeSales University where she made impact on the volleyball team right off the bat. She played in 32 matches as a freshman and led the team with 43 service aces. Her 255 digs placed her fourth on the team and made just 18 errors in 407 serve attempts.
With stats like that, it looks like she had no trouble making the jump from high school to college volleyball. Reichard said it wasn’t as easy as it looked early in the season.
“I can look back at my freshman year and say I struggled a bit making the transition from high school to college volleyball,” said Reichard. “I played with the same girls year after year in high school so it took some time for me to get comfortable playing on a new team with new teammates. But I felt that I had a strong defensive foundation from high school, which allowed me to play as a freshmen.
In her sophomore season she made the switch to libero and things really started clicking for her. In 32 games she led the team with 582 digs and ranked third on the team with 36 service aces.
In 2011, she played every game, not even missing one set throughout the season. Once again she led the team with 605 digs and had 28 service aces. Her performance earned her a spot on the All-Freedom Conference team and was named to the Neumann University Invitational All Tournament Team.
“Overall, I am really happy I chose to play volleyball in college and feel good about my volleyball career at DeSales University,” said Reichard. “To me, the most important things I have gained while playing at Desales are the friendships with my teammates. I can truly say all of my best friends are on the volleyball team and our team is like family. I don’t know if I would have developed the friendships I have now without volleyball. Our team also gets to travel a lot to play. Over the summer we went to Italy as a team trip which was unbelievable.”
Her volleyball career is winding down now which only a few matches remaining. But she knows now that her decision to take up the sport in fifth grade was the right one.
“I love playing volleyball because it is both and individual and a team sport,” she said. “A team can’t win unless every single player is doing their job.”
Reichard is a biochemistry/molecular biology major at DeSales. She is hoping to get a job in a research laboratroy or work for a pharmaceutical company.