The girls’ volleyball team will look to re-establish itself as a playoff contender after winning in three sets to league rival Louisville last Thursday.
The win brings the Wolverines to a 13-7 record overall and an even 2-2 in Mission League play. The squad was able to dictate the pace of play throughout the game, something it struggled with in previous league match-ups.
“We just focused on our side of the net a lot and played Harvard-Westlake volleyball instead of trying to adjust our game too much based on our opponent,” captain Pearl Accord ’17 said. “I think our serving was really good and we really controlled our errors, which helped us win the game.”
This year’s team is one of the youngest in recent memory, featuring as many sophomores as seniors. While this inexperience may have contributed to the team’s shaky start, some underclassmen have been able to emerge as leaders.
“We have a really sophomore-heavy team this year, but I think our setter Lindsey Kelly [’19] has really been our rock,” captain Sophie Tippl ’17 said. “She’s been so on top of it and we rely on her so much to run the offense. Especially being a sophomore on the team, it’s so hard to come and be 110 percent ready to go all the time, and I think she’s done a great job of that.”
Players have been able to gain this much-needed experience at both the Mohs and Durango tournaments they played at in September as they are also a great opportunity to play a lot of teams that the Wolverines otherwise wouldn’t face in their league, outside hitter Bella Hedley ’18 said.
During practices, the squad has looked to six-on-six scrimmages in order to build unity while focusing on the fundamentals of the game. Now that the season is in full swing, players have been able to improve on working together as a unit rather than just polishing up their own skills.
Despite being a major talking point at the beginning of the year, the squad hasn’t utilized much of its depth in the middle, focusing on a more outside-heavy attack. However, the Wolverines will try to capitalize on their talented middle rotation to get a competitive edge in coming games.
“Our middles have been working so hard this year,” Tippl said. “I think in our last game against Louisville, Micah [Dottin] did a really good job of getting away from their block and getting in some crucial swings.”
Nevertheless, the still-young squad will have to rely heavily on its leadership if it hopes to make a deep playoff run.
“I know last year when I was a sophomore it could get really intimidating playing in front of the huge crowds and there’s a lot of pressure that comes with that,” Hedley said. “For me, I’m just trying to support everyone and keep them calm through all the distractions.”
The Wolverines will play their next game in the California Challenge Tournament Friday. Players conditioned on their own for the whole summer and many did overnight field hockey programs. They began practicing as a team at the beginning of the month for two hours each weekday.