The Albion volleyball team is struggling compared to last season. The team is now 0-8 in the league and 4-15 overall. With nine matches left, the best they can finish is 13-15 overall, and 8-8 in the league. Last season, they finished with an overall record of 17-11. Fourteen of those 17 victories came in three or four sets.
“The rough start was due to a brand-new back row, aside from one returner in Caryn Miller, Farmington senior,” head coach Melissa Walton wrote in an e-mail interview. “Back row is the most important positions on the team. If you can’t serve, return and play defense, your offense will sputter,” Walton said.
Through 15 matches this season, the team has only won 8 sets, as opposed to last season where they had won 34 sets in 15 matches. Last season at this time, they were 4-3 in league play. The team is averaging two less kills per set than last season where they had 11.35 kills per set, and at present it is at only 9.3 kills per set.
Although the team has five seniors this year compared to last season where they only had three, only two of them are not learning a new position. “Getting to know each other on the court is very important,” said Mekayla Diehl, Bristol senior. “The team must learn to play as a unit instead of six separate people,” added Diehl.
Walton and her players know the tough start is not all due to bad fundamentals. “We’ve been trying to run a more active offense this year, so it’s a matter of sets finding the hitters and vice versa to allow our attacks to really be in full swing. Defense is progressing, but we need to get down and pick more balls off the court,” said Ellen Pero, Brighton freshmen.
At this point this season, the team is averaging only 8.4 assists per set, where last season they were averaging 10.4 per set. The defense has produced 13.82 digs per set so far this season, whereas, last season they averaged 18.42 digs per set.
“Once they put everything together as a team, they will start to win more. It seems as though we work so hard to pick up one skill, that another becomes diminished,” Pero said.
For Walton, recruiting better players each year does not necessarily become tougher, but varies from year to year. “The future of the squad depends on the development of freshmen, with there only being one senior on the roster for next season,” Walton said.
In the mean time, the team’s focus is to just get better each day. “If we give our full potential every game, we will be among the top 4 in the conference,” Walton wrote in the e-mail.