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Volleyball serves up its best record

Posted By Daniel Kats On October 28, 2010 @ 3:05 am In Sports | Comments Disabled

After only having one returning starter from last year’s team, many expected the South Girls’ Varsity Volleyball team to have a rebuilding year; however, the girls have proved the nonbelievers wrong and currently have the best record through the first 15 games in Head Coach Todd Elwell’s six-year tenure.
Last year, the South Girls’ Volleyball team went into the Sectional tournament knowing that it had a chance to capture a trophy. The sixth seeded team made it all the way to the finals only to suffer a last minute heartbreaking defeat to Quincy High School.
The team, holding a record of 12-4 and a clinched playoff berth, has surrendered Vanessa Gailius, a Dual County League All-Star for two years, to Division-I Loyola University and last year’s Denebola Athlete of the Year, Ally Leipzig, the leader in blocks for the past two years, to the University of Redlands. “You can’t replace Vanessa Gailius, who started [and] played club volleyball three years as a setter. That kid was invited to go to nationals on a club team, Elwell said.
However, the team has been able to overcome these impediments and currently has a better record than last year’s team at this point. As of October 24, the Girls’ team is ranked eighth in the state, while Elwell believes last year’s team would have been ranked 14 or 15.
“Each year just to strive to get better is all you can do, and it’s nice that we’re doing pretty well, senior and captain Emily Shames said.
The team also displayed its power in what Elwell considers its best game of the season against Acton-Boxborough Regional High School (A-B) on October 6. After winning the first set 25-20, South proceeded to lose the second set 18-25. South lost its composure in the third set, losing 12-25. Then, the Lions bounced back and won a close 26-24 fourth set. In the shortened last set, South won 19-17.
According to Elwell, South has not won a single game against A-B in at least his six years as coach. “Especially after Monday’s loss to Westford, that was a big win to beat A-B, Elwell said. This win proved this year’s South team has the desire and talent to win the Sectional finals even though it was expected to be a rebuilding season.
One of the reasons for the Volleyball team’s seemingly never-ending success is its mindset. “It’s probably been a signature of ours. We don’t get on the emotional rollercoaster. We don’t get really really happy and excited when we’re winning, and we don’t get really really down or upset when we’re losing. It allows us to play a little more even game, Elwell said. “This team believes in itself, therefore it is successful. There is a lot of power in positive thinking.
Even though it is important for the players on the court to keep their emotions under control, the bench has displayed incredible support of the team and is always audible during a match.
The team has lost many of its starters from last season. Six of the seniors on last year’s team were on Varsity for three years, resulting in last year’s team having a plethora of experience as opposed to this year’s team, which has only seven players with at least one year of previous experience.
Elwell is doing his best to erase the possibility of this repeating. “This year there are 17 or 18 kids involved with Varsity, which is more than I’ve ever had before. My hope is that the kids will become more competitive as they go from sophomores to juniors or juniors to seniors, Elwell said.
Several players have stepped up to push the team forward. According to Elwell, seniors Molly Silverman and Phoebe Huth have both been “on fire lately. “These kids didn’t play a lot last year on Varsity, but you wouldn’t know that this was their first time starting Varsity, Elwell said.
Junior Ariel Kaluzhny has also made an impact on the team. The Boston Globe named the libero one of the Girls’ Volleyball Players of the Week on October 11 for her performance against Medford when the team clinched a playoff berth. Kaluzhny had seven service aces and 15 digs in the victory. “[She has been] very important. It all starts with that first pass and to have an awesome libero is crucial to the team, Shames said.
There are some key differences between the 2009 team and the new 2010 squad. Elwell and the captains have pinpointed the mental aspect of the game and teamwork as being the main differences. “I think we are a different team than last year’s team. We are different people; we have different strengths and weaknesses. We have

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URL to article: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/volleyball-serves-up-its-best-record/

URLs in this post:

[1] Enthusiasm spikes for girls’ volleyball: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/09/24/enthusiasm-spikes-for-girls-volleyball/

[2] Girls’ Volleyball Team serves up serious competition: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/09/30/girls%e2%80%99-volleyball-team-serves-up-serious-competition/

[3] From jump-shots to jump-serves: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/04/15/from-jump-shots-to-jump-serves/

[4] Volleyball smashes competition, awaits tournament: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/volleyball-smashes-competition-awaits-tournament/

[5] Sports Spotlight: Courtney Chaloff and Helen Yuan: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2007/11/21/sports-spotlight-courtney-chaloff-and-helen-yuan/

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