Coach Chris Crader said the girls volleyball team has faced many ups and downs this season, including illness and injury that has made it difficult for the team to get into a great rhythm or maintain continuity during practices and games.
“Some of our best players are missing out on the season because they are working with doctors to figure out when they will be healthy enough to return to action, but it probably won’t be until very late in the season, if at all,” Crader said.
In addition, Crader said the team has faced challenges regarding a lack of experience because many talented players from last year’s team graduated.
“Those players were given priority in game time,” Crader said. “Now that they have left the team, we have to make sure the rest of the remaining players catch up on their skill sets with practice and playing time.”
Despite the recent challenges, Crader said he aims to help each individual player improve both inside and outside of the sport, especially in light of the school’s recent reemphasis on the importance of sportsmanship.
“I want to help them have a positive experience by representing ourselves and our school with grace (in addition) to competing at a very high level,” Crader said.
Junior co-captain Kylie Yen, who is in her second year on the team, said she has grown to love the sport because of her past experiences on welcoming, close-knit volleyball club teams, which she plans to carry forward.
“I hope this team can be a safe, fun space for everyone and foster the same sense of community that got me to love the sport,” Yen said. “Ultimately, having a well-bonded team will not only help us play better, but it will also make the sport a lot more engaging.”
Yen said, in addition to challenges like injuries and a lack of experience, competitive success throughout the season will be difficult to achieve against tough competition –– especially within league –– but the team will persevere.
“As one of the captains this year, I’m most excited to see what our full potential will be and how far we can take this team despite these challenges,” Yen said. “Regardless of whether we win or lose, we can always strive to play our best.”