Girls volleyball sets up for future of success

Stephanie Dossett, Reporter

While the all-new coaching staff couldn’t break the girls’ volleyball team’s two-year run of unsuccessful seasons, they brought the players other victories.

The team has worked hard this season on an aspect of volleyball commonly overlooked: the in-game mentality.

“That’s kind of our philosophy,” said head coach Marni Drechsel, “do what you can control — do what you can do to get better every day — and I think people are surprised how much they can grow.”

As the team approached the end of a 2-9 season, with wins against Lake Washington and Newport, freshman Camden Burrows said, “We haven’t really won that many games because we are all… in this mental state where we get really angry with ourselves if we mess up.”

Drechsel also said that, even with the massive improvements in skill, they’re still learning to adjust to their opponents and play the smart game. Along with her fellow coaches Amanda Stainer and Haley Costa, Drechsel has been helping to teach this concept.

Burrows said the head coach encouraged the players to remember that “It’s not about me”, in order to keep their focus on the team as whole.

“You can’t take out what you did on yourself because there’s five other people on the court with you,” she said.

Since effective collaboration on the court is key to volleyball, the coaches emphasized building a tight-knit community among the team members.

“I wanted to just focus on getting to know the players, and letting them get to know me, and kind of establishing a culture of trust where we could work really hard,” said Drechsel.

New opportunities for team bonding also brought the girls closer together this year.

Senior Natalie Lewis said, “[the new coaches] made it more like a family… we incorporate all three teams together and we practice together.”

Even the younger players got to feel a part of the volleyball family, Burrows and Lewis said, especially with this being the second year of having a relatively young team.

“There’s not very many upperclassmen on my team, but they really brought me in and were really kind,” said Burrows, “Even just the varsity girls, they don’t know me that well, but they’re still really, really nice to me, and they cheer us on and are really supportive.”

As the season came to a close, the whole team continued to work hard through the finish.

“I just hope to keep getting better and improving more for the last few games and practices,” said Burrows.

Prior to their final game, Lewis said, “we’ve had kind of an up and down season, so we just want to finish strong.”

Unfortunately, the night was a loss for the team, but the coaches already have big plans for next season. Given the new skills this season has taught the players, the head coach predicts that the self-confidence required to push them to success isn’t far behind.

“Postseason. We’re going to be a postseason team next year,” Drechsel said, “I’d like to go second round. Who knows — maybe further.”