Volleyball Earns Third Place in Northern Conference

New coach Crystal Barnes leads team back to the NCHSAA playoffs

Rebekah Helms, Editor in chief

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“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 positives 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,” 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.”