Girls' volleyball program builds cohesive team
By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Thu., Sep. 8, 2011
Coming off a strong season last year with a record of 14-4 overall, South Windsor High School girls’ volleyball coach Tina Holt is looking forward to another competitive season. This year’s team is heavy with seniors, four of whom are returning varsity players. Holt will also be looking to the junior varsity and even freshman players to fill in. “The kids who are moving up [to the varsity team] are coming in with a lot of experience,” said Holt.
To build a cohesive program, Holt has all the athletes play together for at least part of each practice. In addition, both the junior varsity and the freshmen coaches have been with the program for years. Jim Holt is the junior varsity coach, as well as the SWHS boys’ volleyball coach. SWHS Spanish teacher Sharon Galligan is returning for her fourth year as the freshmen coach. She was also a player on the SWHS team. “It’s great to have someone who’s been with our program,” Tina Holt said about Galligan.
Having this type of stability enables the coaches to bring the athletes along in the program, setting out the expectations clearly. “It makes getting to know everyone overall a better experience,” explained Holt. Parents have expressed their appreciation for the way the freshmen are welcomed into the program and are able to get to know so many girls early in the school year.
Holt recently held a “parents’ practice,” when the families of the athletes were invited to watch, and even join the practice. This helps the families learn about the hard work of practice and helps the athletes become more comfortable playing in front of their families. “That parent support is really important,” said Holt.
Senior co-captain Mindi Chen said, “Volleyball’s been a really big part of my life. It’s an outlet to have fun.” Chen is a defensive specialist, but has also played the setter position. “It’s a rewarding sport,” she said. “When we do win, everyone’s a winner, and we support each other even when we do lose.”
Outside hitter or left back Kirsten Warner, senior co-captain, credits the team’s success with its closeness. “We have a lot of chemistry,” said Warner, noting that the team members also play together off-season and attend summer camps together. She said their closeness is seen in the team’s very determined playing style and high energy levels.
The South Windsor High School girls’ volleyball team has its next home game on Monday, Sept. 19, with the junior varsity team playing at 5 p.m., followed at 6 p.m. by the varsity game. The team plays at Manchester High School on Friday, Sept. 16. For the complete schedule, visit the website casciac.org.