Volleyball With High Hopes

Bartosz Janczuk, Sports Editor

Having won the state championship last year, the volleyball team began this season with big shoes to fill. However, so far, the girls have handled things well, zooming out to a 12-3 record with several weeks remaining.

Despite the solid start, the girls admit that they didn’t know how things would shake up when the season began. “We didn’t really know what to expect coming into the season, because we have 5 returning seniors, but we also got 3 new freshmen,” said senior Callie Schapekahm. “But it’s actually been pretty good so far. We’ve gelled really well.”

While that ability to gel has been important for the girls this year, senior Alix Putman told me that it hasn’t been the same as it was in their championship run one year ago. “Last year, everybody always seemed to know where to be and what they needed to do,” she explained to me. “This year, it’s taken longer to find that chemistry. I do think we’ll get there, though; when sections come, we’ll be ready.” That discrepancy, albeit somewhat small, can be demonstrated in one statistic: last year, the girls accumulated just two total losses. This year, they already have three.

Of course, that’s not to say that the girls have been bad up to this point; on the contrary, they’ve been dominant for the vast majority of the season. Of their 12 wins so far, all but one came in straight sets, and the one that didn’t – their second match of the season, against Chanhassen – epitomized the girls’ resilience. “When we went to Chanhassen, we all just assumed we’d get the win,” said Putman. “Then we went down 0-2. We were definitely the better team; it just took us two sets to warm up.” And warm up they did. The girls won each of the last three sets by an average of 10 points and came back to stun the home team.

Now, with six matches left in the regular season, the girls are just looking to improve down the stretch and get ready for sections. While a repeat of last year is obviously the hope, Putman explained to me that the girls know they’ve got to “take things one game at a time.” With that being said, she was optimistic about their chances, telling me, “If we keep working and reminding ourselves to play hard, I think we’ll get far.” Hopefully, the reigning state champions will be able to do just that and keep their title crown.