A Bunch of Sisters

Emily Alexander and Stella Grist

        The varsity volleyball team relies heavily on the skills of a younger group of players this season. 

        With three freshmen, three sophomores, three juniors and two seniors, “adjust” has become the name of the game.

        “They are learning to work together and working hard to create some team unity,” head Coach Susan Specht said. 

        In the past, upperclassmen led the team and filled most of the roster spots. This year, however, it all changed.

        “I think it’s very different than when there were a lot of seniors because there’s more coaching to go around,” sophomore Emma Ayers said. “Everybody helps each other out, rather than overpowering.”

        Seniors and some juniors normally hold leadership roles on any team because they have the most experience. With only two seniors to take the lead, the underclassmen are learning how to lead. 

        “As seniors, we want those girls to be leaders for us, set expectations, be good at communication and set the tone for the rest of the team,” Specht said. “ plays a huge role, as with all sports teams. Our seniors do a great job taking on that role and being bold and courageous in doing their job.” 

        Last year, the girls struggled with communication and team chemistry, but this year they say they feel more like a family than a team. 

        “Last year was more upperclassmen,” sophomore Vivian Kieffer said. “We had problems with attitude, but this year I think we’re meshing super well.”

        Working together over the summer helped the team become close. 

        “Summer was a huge stepping stone for us,” Specht said. “We worked out throughout the summer and played summer league with them. That was a time where the upperclassmen could start molding the underclassmen.”

        Because of the extensive amount of time they spent together, the underclassmen were quickly accepted by their upperclassmen teammates. 

        “You get a lot of experience on the court and everyone’s bringing something different,” senior Ada Heller said. “The freshmen are hilarious, I can tell you that. They keep things interesting.” 

        While the team works well together, there are some downsides to having such a young team. 

        “I think the hardest thing is that there are some things they don’t know,” junior Reanne Debose said. “Everyone has that moment. I even had that as a freshman.”

        Although the freshmen are young and new to high school volleyball, Specht’s expectations remain the same. 

        “The freshmen are just going to take a little bit longer to figure out what my expectations are and how to get there,” Specht said. 

        With this range of ages, the different grades enjoy being competitive with each other. The freshmen who are new to playing at this level are competing with experienced upperclassmen. They are adjusting to playing against girls three to four years older than they are. 

        “It’s a totally different environment than it was before, ” Kieffer said. “It people to work harder and be the best player they can be, so I think that’s really helpful.”

        As the underclassmen look up to their peers, the desire to win against the older girls is strong. 

        “ look up to us,” Debose said. “You always want to beat the person you look up to, so it’s just fun, healthy competition. At the end of the day, we still love each other.” 

        The upperclassmen often assist the freshmen with everything from improving their volleyball skills to helping them with their homework.  

        “They always help me out. And they always make sure that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” freshman Tori Creason said. “ having guidance, not just through volleyball, but through high school. They’re like my best friends” 

        Kieffer agrees. 

        “We are like a bunch of sisters,” Kieffer said. “I don’t know what I would do without them.”