Volleyball expects short, but powerful winning season

There have been some struggles with Covid and figuring out how to play while dealing with restrictions, but the girls are eager to finally get out and play.

Junior+varsity+player%2C+Katie+Heely+going+in+for+the+spike+during+practice.+

Madeline Williamson

Junior varsity player, Katie Heely going in for the spike during practice.

by Brynne McKinney and Alyssa Pizer

The short URL of the present article is: https://lhslance.org/exxr2

The team stands staggered in their playing positions ready to spike the ball across the net. The audience was limited to parents and faces covered with masks. The volleyball season in 2021 is looking a little different.

While the volleyball season did get postponed from fall 2020 Danielle Koogle, defensive specialist, has kept a good attitude during this time. 

“There is going to be a volleyball season this year, and I am very excited. I believe that the team will play well this year. Although COVID has caused many problems, my teammates are still very passionate about playing. There are many good players on our team, so I think we will have a good outcome,” said Koogle.

Amanda Cook, setter, says that the girls are still trying their hardest as a team.

“You get really close with the girls on the team. and everyone is always there for each other, both on and off the court. Everyone forms a really good bond,” said Cook 

Both Koogle and Cook say there are going to be some major challenges this year since many girls also play for clubs.  Clubs practice through the year and compete in the spring.

“Probably juggling around club season because we are going to have to make changes on the spot when girls can’t make games or practices due to tournaments for their other teams,” said Cook. 

Koogle said, “There are a couple of players from last year that aren’t returning. Some just lost their passion during COVID and it is upsetting, but is understandable or they couldn’t find a way to train during COVID and thought they couldn’t try out.”

Andrea Poffinberger (Poff) will be in  her 16th year coaching the volleyball team. She spent 10 years coaching JV and has been coaching varsity since 2015.

“We will be following the FCPS policies in regards to mitigation strategies for COVID-19. There are very specific rules in place for everyone’s safety and to help ensure we are able to have a successful/full season,” said Poff.

While COVID is postponing some games and practices hindering learning experiences. Players still feel as though there are opportunities for improvement.  

Koogle said, “there will be varsity and junior varsity teams, from what I’ve heard, there are many experienced and talented freshman trying out on JV, so I think they will have a good season as well, my old teammates from junior varsity will be great leaders for the freshman including Katie Healy, Raegan Heidenburg, and Loghan Day”.

“Sadly, I believe spectators will not be allowed to watch. I think we will be live streaming our games though.” 

We will be running a 6-2,  meaning we will have two setters which includes me and another sophomore we brought up, her name is Ashley Ratti. Our libero is Julia Gladhill and we have multiple hitters and defensive players as well,” said Cook

Coach Poff was able to give her opinion and insight of what the volleyball season will look like. 

“We just finished 4 days worth of tryouts to look at fundamental skills as well as other qualities to determine who fit on which team and who needed more work/practice. The ball will need to be wiped down between points but I hope to use a similar strategy to one used in beach volleyball where there is a ball cart with a couple clean volleyballs on each endline and the server grabs the clean ball to serve,” said Poff. 

“This should help things run faster. Everyone is required to wear a mask even while playing which will take some adjustments. Practices will be Monday thru Friday and games begin March 9 and will end April 15th. There will be 9 regular season games vs. Frederick County Opponents.”

With the 16 years of coaching, Poff has seen a lot of teams play and go. Due to the circumstances of the environment she is incredibly proud of this team.   

“My favorite part of coaching is player growth. Just watching them grow from season to season into amazing young adults on the court and off the court is so rewarding as a coach. I get to watch them chase their dream regardless of what they are and I continue to follow their growth beyond high school. It’s an amazing thing to be able to see. We are going to have two main goals this season. One, have fun and enjoy what so many people have lost during COVID and that is the ability to compete/play sports. Second, compete to the best of our ability given the circumstances. We will focus on weekly goals and strive to get a little better every day,” said Coach Poff. 

Last year Tuscarora beat Linganore in the Semi-finals 25-19. The Frederick News Post captured some live action shots of the game.

With the uncertainty of athletics for the upcoming season, players along with coaches are left wondering what their future will hold. 

“Right now there is a Frederick County Championship built into the season but I am unsure exactly how that will work,” said Poff.