Last year, the Smyrna High volleyball team went 13-2 and made a state tournament appearance. Losing most of the varsity squad will prove to be challenging, but the volleyball program in Smyrna has been training these girls from a young age….which means they still expect to win.
When discussing the Lady Eagles season outlook, Head Coach Danny Wandless went to an old sports cliché: "We're going to take it one game at a time right now."
The biggest game of the season will be against Sussex Tech, which just so happens to be the start of the season.
In terms of what the young varsity players do well, Wandless said they're working well together as a team. The coaches put a lot of focus and emphasis on passing the ball and communications on the court.
"So far they just have really good attitudes," Wandless said.
Communication on the court is one of the things the Lady Eagles need to improve upon. The team also needs to work on being more proactive than reactive on the court, Wandless said.
"We would like to be one step ahead of the play instead of reacting to it," he said.
Returning varsity players Raven Luckett, Hannah Boyles and Morgan Popovich all believe the team can continue on the success of last year's team.
"I feel like we have a lot of strong girls in different positions," Boyles said. "If we work together, we can get wherever we want to go."
Luckett added that the team still has the talent.
A key point for the team, Popovich said, is if they all stay focused and keep their minds on the goal of winning, they'll do well.
The players feel the team strengths are their number of good hitters and the fact they are starting to pump each other up at practice. One thing that needs improvement is communication on the court. To do well this year, the girls said they need to communicate better, and cover their hitters by being there for them in case the ball ricochet.
Their goal for the season is to make the state tournament, and to at least be conference champion.
Wandless echoed his players.
"As far as I'm concerned our goal has always been to compete for a conference championship and a state tournament birth."
The team's first home match of the season is Tuesday, Sept. 18 versus Milford. The match will also be the team's annual "Dig Pink" match, which raises funds for the Side Out Foundation to support breast cancer research and raise awareness of the disease.
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