Setting up a new season

The girls varsity volleyball team looks to build off of last season’s successes and failures. According to head coach Molly Haggerty, this year’s team is expected to be one of the best in the program’s history.

While last year’s volleyball team finished with a record of 17-19, head coach Molly Haggerty said she believes this year’s team will be a part of one of their most successful seasons to date. While the previous team was very talented, Haggerty said they were lacking in offense and were unable to keep up with competition. With six starters returning and a team composed entirely of experienced upperclassmen, Haggerty said this season is shaping up to be one of the program’s best.

The team has a clear vision for State and Sub-State, Haggerty said, and they are also working toward being one of the best teams in the league. EKL is one of the toughest leagues to be in, Haggerty said, and for the last few years the team has been at the bottom. However, as the off season and tryouts progressed, Haggerty said the idea of winning Sub-State and EKL became more of a realistic goal.

“[The players are] not afraid to demand a little bit more out of each other,” Haggerty said. “They want to prove that they can leave their mark on this program and leave it the best they can be … Kids in the off season have had successes, either personally or with their teams… We’ve had more and more girls playing at the open national level in the off season which prepares them against better competition.”

According to senior Sydney Walls, the team is expected to do extremely well because of their experience and chemistry. However, Walls said the team understands it will take effort and nothing will be given to them.

“I’m looking forward to senior night and the feeling we get whenever we completely crush a team,” Walls said. “It’s an incredible feeling because we are so in sync that we are basically one person.”

According to Haggerty, the team strengths come from their passing and their defense. In previous years, Haggerty said the defense would have hesitation which would allow for easy balls to drop and lead to miscommunication between players. However, leading up to this season, Haggerty said she has not seen many balls drop.

I think this is going to be our most successful season yet.”

— Head coach Molly Haggerty

Haggerty said while the defense and passing is phenomenal, the setters and middles need to improve their connection. The team wants their middles to be a more active part of their offense this year, Haggerty said, which will allow them to score more efficiently.

“Just because these setters haven’t set to these middles—we’ve got a new setter and a new middle that didn’t play together last year—so we are trying to get them all to mesh and know each other’s timing and what each other likes as a set or as a hitter,” Haggerty said. “They’re just working on that communication aspect of it, and it’s getting better. It’s been getting better since day one of practice. We’re really excited to see where it’s going to be by the end of the season.

Walls agrees with Haggerty regarding the team’s strengths and weaknesses, and added that the team needs to learn to disregard names and reputations.

“Last year, we succumbed to labels instead of how the team played and we lost to a lot of teams that shouldn’t have beaten us,” Walls said. “Instead of looking at a school like STA and St. James and schools that typically have good programs and being intimidated by that, we just need to play our game instead of bowing down to their label.”

According to Haggerty, apart from two serious injuries that took place last year, the team has been fortunate to only sustain some wear and tear injuries. Senior Lauren Mertz and sophomore Mya Mertz have been sidelined with ACL tears and will not play this season, Haggerty said, but they will be deeply missed. While Lauren is a senior and will not be returning to play in following years, Mya plans to return for her junior and senior year. According to Haggerty, both girls are managing the team this season and providing support and leadership from the bench.

“I think this is going to be our most successful season yet,” Haggerty said. “We’ve seen this program get better and better each year. I think this by far is the most talented team.”