Hard work paying off as conference play nears
Issue date: 9/25/09 Section: Sports
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The past three years have been a rebuilding project for the Spartans volleyball team. When head Coach Karen Farrell was hired in March 2006, she inherited a 5-31 team which had eight freshmen out of thirteen total players. Before her first season, four of those players would leave the team.
Continuity has been an issue since Farrell was hired. Building team chemistry is difficult, when you lose upperclassmen each year it is nearly impossible. This year's squad is Farrell's first with more than two seniors.
"When I came in, we were playing immediately," said senior defensive specialist and team captain, Andrea Wojtowicz. "Now, the team is relying on the returners and giving the freshman a chance to learn." Numbers-wise, this is Case's largest team in over six years. As opposed to running a practice with only 12-13 girls, the Spartans now have 17.
"The past three years have been about developing who we have and getting more talent," said senior libero, Andrea Lamont. "Now we have talent. There is much better competition on the other side of the net each day at practice." Not only that, but it gives the Spartans different rotations during matches without a drop-off in performance.
"We have fresh legs in matches and confidence in whoever is on the court," said Lamont. However, both seniors attribute the turnaround to more than just talent.
Team unity is something the team has been working on since last offseason. That doesn't just go for on the court either. The team has been getting together for team dinners since last offseason. When they travel they all get together in one hotel room to hangout the night before their match, to spend more time together. This summer, they even set-up a "summer sleepover" where the incoming freshman came and played in open gym sessions and got a chance to spend time with the team.