2019 Volleyball Gallery

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Volleyball Story

This season, the volleyball team placed third in the conference, and although they wanted to place higher, they improved both on and off the court.

The team finished 10-14 overall and 6-4 in conference play.

This year, they had a whole new team. The coach was new, and only three seniors returned to lead the team.

“We have better connectivity between the team members because we had balance of leadership,” junior Devin Fowler said.

Despite beginning the season with a new coach again this season, the team was optimistic.

“When we had our new coach come in, we all felt a lot of hope coming into the season, and the first couple of games as we started working together,” Fowler said.

The supportive environment, friendship and teamwork were themes from several player interviews.

“I played a new position this year, and my teammates supported me in developing in that position even when I was struggling,” senior Rachael Stroot said.

Stroot led the team with 209 kills.

Junior Natalie Russel, who had 30 aces for the team, also cited the strong chemistry this season.

“When it was on the court it felt like we all kind of worked together and communicated really well,” Russell said.

Good teamwork doesn’t just come from communication on the court, but from communication off the court as well.

“This year, I’ve been closer with this team than any of the past teams I’ve played on,” Russell said. “We had a really strong connection not just as teammates, but also as friends.”

Although, the teammates were very supportive of each other as a unit, Russell felt one teammate deserved more attention this season as an unsung contributor.

“Rachael Stroot, who is number three, and she deserves more recognition than she gets,” Russell said. “The care she has for the team, but I feel like since she is quiet, she tends to kind of get less recognition than some of the others.”

Stroot also led the team with 61 aces.

While cooperation was strong, coach Crystal Barnes saw other positive and other areas to improve upon in 2020.

“Our  percentages got better in different areas, and our serving percentage got better, but we absolutely need to be able to minimize the mistakes that we make because the game of volleyball is one of loss by the team that makes the least amount of mistakes,” Barnes said.

The energy stayed strong throughout the season, but the players also know what needs to be worked on next year.

“We really need to focus on finishing the ball and really having a purpose with everything we do rather than just keeping the ball in play.  Just a more competitive and want-to-win mindset,” senior Katie Gundry said.

Gundry notched 33 aces on the season, fourth highest for the cougars.

Although many of the players agreed that they wanted to place higher in conference this season, Barnes has high hopes for the next season.

“Everyone’s really happy about the way things are going, the girls are having a lot of fun this year, and we’ve been able to build great relationships,” Barnes said.“I’m looking forward to what’s going to happen in the future,”

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