The junior and senior girls’ volleyball teams have hit the courts once again at EDSS, with both off to a bit of a sluggish start to the year.
The senior squad has posted a 2-1 start to the season, but the junior squad has struggled, losing their first three matches to open the season.
It is a far cry from last year when both teams won their first three games coming out of the gate. The senior squad won their season opener against Waterloo-Oxford three games to one back on Nov. 30, but followed it up with a 3-0 loss to KCI on Dec. 2.
“That was a rough game last Thursday,” conceded coach Alex Derma. “It was a winnable game, but we were virtually beat by one player.”
The team followed it up with a victory over Glenview Park on Tuesday, 3-1. The match was close, with games of 25-21, 25-15, 19-25, and 25-23 for Elmira.
Derma knows that games like the one on Tuesday against fellow AAA teams are important, and that the team cannot take any of them lightly.
“Only three teams go on to CWOSSA in the AAA division, so every time you play them they are a bigger game,” he said.
Derma also believes that their strength this year is going to be the depth of his roster. He has two Grade 11s in his starting lineup, and he and co-coach Troy Shantz aren’t afraid to substitute anyone at any time.
“This allows us to play whoever we want wherever we want and not have any concern,” Derma said.
The team also has strong serving and blocking, which was on full display on Tuesday. Katie Martin had several key blocks against Glenview, and Lynsey Herron showed off her deceptive power from the back court, at one point serving for seven straight points on Tuesday. Veteran Lydia Frey also has a killer instinct and a powerful spike around the net.
After losing one of their best players from last season, second team all-star Jess Martin, as well as several other key players, Derma said his team is going to have to fight and scrape for every point.
“We need them to play gritty, gritty ball and to work for every point. Being able to get to every ball has to be our game plan.”
The junior squad hasn’t had the start to the season that they were hoping for. They were shut out three games to none in their season opener on Nov. 30 against Waterloo-Oxford, and followed it up with two hard-fought 3-1 losses to KCI on Dec. 2 and Glenview Park on Tuesday afternoon.
Despite the poor start, coach Fred Weisner likes the makeup of his team.
“I’ve got some good athletes and a good well-rounded team that can make lots of plays. It’s a nice bunch of girls and a good group.”
Nearly half the team is made up of Grade 9 students. He said the Grade 10s have shown great leadership in showing the younger players the ropes of high school volleyball.
Their losses to KCI and Glenview Park could have gone either way, as well. The scores of the KCI game were 25-23, 25-20, 19-25, 25-16 while their loss to Glenview was even closer, 25-19, 25-21, 19-25, 25-20.
In volleyball one key play can change the entire momentum of a game, and some of the team’s early losses this season could be chalked up to the inexperience due to so many young players in the starting lineup.
“They pass really well, and move around the court really well, they just need to develop that killer instinct to be more successful,” said Meisner.