Girls’ volleyball aims to continue championship form in new season

After finishing their season on a 20-match win streak and capturing the Division-III state title, the girls’ varsity volleyball team enters its first scrimmage next Tuesday hoping to duplicate last season’s success.

They will take on Thousand Oaks High School in Taper Gymnasium, where they were undefeated last season. However this season they will have to compete with a younger and less experienced squad, as the team graduated 10 seniors, including Cathryn Quinn ’08 who is plying her trade for the Princeton Tigers.

“Losing all the seniors definitely leaves a bit of a leadership void,” outside hitter Meg Norton ’10 said. “Last year they gave our team so much and the five returning players really need to step up.”

Norton, who was MVP of last years’ state title team, in addition to being the youngest player on the squad at the time, still thinks this group has a shot at success despite the loss of so many key players.

“We might be a younger team this year but I definitely think we have a lot of potential,” Norton said. “We’ve looked solid practicing all summer and this unit has great chemistry. Our goal is still state”

The girls’ volleyball team has spent the prior two months practicing together in Taper in hopes of getting a head start on developing team chemistry and getting extra practice playing together as a collective unit.

“Everyone has been in here all summer working hard and it is really helping us build our chemistry,” Norton said. “We are all just trying to work together and do the best we can. Last year’s team was more used to playing together so they already had that great chemistry, but this team needs to build that and replace all the leadership the seniors provided.”

The team is once again led by head coach Adam Black, who was named co-CIF coach of the year last season in his first year manning the bench for the Wolverines.

Black has implemented a complex, diverse stat sheet in order to help players see exactly what areas of their game need improvement. The stat sheet, which is updated and replaced with a new sheet every 11 days, covers all aspects of the game, including digs, sets and attacks.

“The stat chart is really helpful because it shows us exactly what we need to be better at,” Jillian McAndrews ’10, a new comer to this years’ squad, said. “Coach Black comes up with a number or a rating of where we need to be, shows us where we are, and if we aren’t at his pre determined average of what our position requires, we focus on improving that specific part of our game.”

McAndrews is one of ten new players on the team, but Black hasn’t been concerned about the loss of so many experienced players from the previous season.

“For me it’s not about us losing those seniors, it’s about the players we have coming back,” Black said. “We’ve got five returning players from the team that made state last year, and four seniors from that team.”

Black said that he was not concerned about having a dip in talent level from last years’ team.

“We’ve got girls on this team who play volleyball year round, who are definitely solid players,” he said. “And all the girls on this team are very receptive to each other and really work well together.”

When asked if he thought this team could make another run to a state title, Black smiled.

“I’ll let you know that after December,” he said.