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Cortese named head volleyball coach

Jessica Cortese
Jessica Cortese

WESTMINSTER, Md. – Jessica Cortese has been named McDaniel College's head volleyball coach, announced by Director of Athletics Paul Moyer on Tuesday.

"As we conducted this search, Jess surfaced as the type of coach we were looking for to lead our volleyball program," Moyer said. "She knows what it takes to be successful in the Centennial Conference and I'm confident that over time she'll return our program to its tradition of excellence, being highly competitive on the national level."

Cortese has spent the last two seasons as the head volleyball coach at Sewanee: The University of the South. She was instrumental in building a team that had just eight wins in the three seasons before her arrival in Tennessee. In 2011, she brought in eight freshmen – the biggest recruiting class in program history – and quadrupled her win total, recording the program's most victories in 10 years. Three of her players were named to all-tournament teams during the 2011 season, tripling the total from the previous year.

 "First and foremost, I would like to thank Paul Moyer and the administration at McDaniel College for offering me this position," Cortese said. "I am thrilled to be entering into an athletics department and volleyball program with rich history and tradition. I was fortunate to meet some incredible staff members and athletes on my interview, and felt like the quality of people at McDaniel is second to none. It is an honor to coach in the Centennial Conference and I look forward to working with a great group of young women who are hungry to win championships."

A Lancaster, Pa., native, Cortese was a standout volleyball and soccer player at Hempfield High School before playing volleyball collegiately at Centennial Conference (CC)-rival Gettysburg. In 2010, she was inducted into the Hempfield Athletics Hall of Fame.

The 2003 CC Player of the Year, she was part of four conference championship teams during her time as a Bullet. She was a first-team AVCA All-Mid-Atlantic selection in 2003, also garnering honorable mention All-America accolades, before being selected as an honorable mention all-region selection in 2004. During her four years leading the team, the Bullets racked up a 108-34 record, including a 37-3 mark in conference play.

A two-time All-CC first-team selection, she finished her career at Gettysburg 1,605 career kills – a total which still ranks third in program history. She also notched 1,339 career digs, which is still ninth all-time, to become one of just eight players in program history to be part of the 1,000-kill, 1,000-dig club.

A career .220 hitter and team captain as a senior, she still ranks in the Gettysburg top 15 with 211 service aces. She also had 187 total blocks, including 118 block assists, and had 103 assists. She also finished with 42 double-doubles, including in the final eight matches of her collegiate career.

After graduation, she went to Florida State University and spent the 2006 and 2007 seasons as a graduate assistant with the Seminoles volleyball program while earning her master's of science from the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems.

Over the next three years, Cortese spent time as a high school and middle school teacher in psychology and physical education at The Maclay Prepatory School in Tallahassee, Fla. She also served as the head volleyball coach, compiling a record of 60-28 in three seasons. She won a district championship each year at the helm, earned two regional championships and made two Florida Final Four appearances. She was also named Big Bend Coach of the Year in 2008.

At the same time, Cortese was involved in the Tallahassee Juniors Volleyball Club, serving as the head coach and on the Board of Directors for the U-17 team until she returned to the college ranks in 2010.

While at Sewanee she also served as the assistant sports information director and as an instructor in the physical education department.

Cortese graduated cum laude from Gettysburg in 2005 with a bachelor of arts in psychology.

Cortese assumes the duties of her new position on Apr. 6, in time to close out the recruiting class and be involved in spring practices.

McDaniel is scheduled to open the 2012 season at Mary Washington on Friday, Aug. 31.