Enthusiasm spikes for girls’ volleyball

By Denebola
Published: September 2008

By Ellie Crowley

This year’s girls’ volleyball program has created a dynamic varsity team. The team started the season in mid-August, with a special volleyball camp. ¨“Before the season began, South ran a camp called Gold Medal Squared, where we hosted two professional volleyball players to help coach, senior captain Hannah Sieber said. “Only South girls attended the camp, and it was composed of players from both the varsity and junior varsity squad.

The effect of the camp is evident on the team as they have approached the season with both focus and determination. “This camp enabled us to play alongside one another before the season started, Sieber said. It also allowed them “to work together on crucial skills such as communication, strategy, and team chemistry.

In addition to the improving volleyball skills, there is a larger sense of community among the girls. “The team’s greatest strength is our closeness. Both on and off the court, the majority of the girls are friends, and that spirit really translates to the chemistry on the court, Sieber said. Senior co-captain Kathee Li agrees, “It’s great because we’ve all bonded over these past couple of weeks. The fact that we’re such a close-knit team really shows on the court because we communicate well and work great together.

In addition to working to strengthen the bond between the girls, the team has been working on a new and complex playing formation: the 5-1. ¨“[The 5-1] can be extremely hard to learn. The team has accepted this challenge and has competed in three games without being called for any rotation violations, Coach Todd Elwell said. In this new challenging formation, five represents the number of attackers and one represents the setter. “Most teams run a 6-2 (where all six players can hit, and two players set) because it is less confusing, Elwell explains.

Another hurdle that the team has to overcome is that they are overall relatively short height wise, a daunting obstacle in the volleyball world. ¨“Unfortunately we have a relatively short team, but the height of our team isn’t something we can control, Li said. This disadvantage, however, has inspired the girls to work even harder to try and minimize their weaknesses.

“One thing our team needs to improve on is the consistency of our game. We really cannot afford to make hitting errors, service errors, or any other unforced errors, Li said. Sieber agrees stating the importance finding a balance: “The team needs enthusiasm as well as a focused mentality.¨Elwell claims that the team is “reading their opponents better than last year. We are more versatile in our attack options. This year’s team betters the ball so that we don’t give free balls to our opponents. We had a great season last year and this year’s team wants to continue to play in the State tournament.

The team’s largest test to date was their match against Bedford. “In our second game at Bedford we found ourselves behind two games to none and we battled back to take the last three straight games to win the match, Elwell said.

“During our huddle before the third game we were all really pumped and ready to sweep the next three games, and we did! Li said. The girls also defeated Wayland and Waltham.

In addition, the varsity girls make sure to give back to younger players. “Between each double session of pre-season, many of the varsity girls stay to play games and bond. We also sometimes do warm-ups where each upperclassman will teach a freshman some sort of skill, such as transitions, or blocking, Seiber said. ¨Li reflected on the lessons that volleyball has taught her: “Playing volleyball has taught me how it’s really about the program as a whole. Our program t-shirts even say “We>Me! I don’t play every minute of every game, but I know that whether I am on or off the court, I’m always helping and improving our game.

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