Knights' spikers seeing steady improvement
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Ellington - posted Thu., Sep. 29, 2011
Having posted just one win so far this season, the Knights varsity volleyball team, of Ellington High School, is still hopeful that they can sneak into the playoffs, as their skills improve. Of the early losses, some were just by a few bad bounces, including the 3-1 loss to Bolton on Sept. 28, in which the Knights were in every game.
“The first couple of games were a bit of a struggle, but they’ve been picking it up a lot every game,” said first-year coach Alison Watras, after the Bolton match. “We’ve been getting stronger. We’re getting there.”
Watras said that her team is working on communication and passing the ball, as well as getting the right player to take charge at the right time. “We’re trying to get the girls to know who’s supposed to get the ball and when, and to be really aggressive for it,” she said. “I keep telling them to dive on the floor, go after it, and don’t let anything drop. They were really timid the first couple of games, but they’re starting to get more of a belief that they can do this.”
Despite good leadership - specifically from senior captain Alyssa Jones - the team lost four senior starters last year, leaving a relatively inexperienced squad, but Watras said that the Knights’ talent will get them wins, and as the wins come, the team’s confidence will snowball from there.
“[Jones] is our middle blocker,” Watras said. “She’s been a big influence getting the blocks and the hits. We look to her to lead the team, and she’s been doing a good job.”
A tournament berth, Watras said, is not out of the question. “We’re shooting for states,” she said. “We might just barely make it, but I think we can do it. We have teams [upcoming on the schedule] that we should be beating. It’s going to be a tough ride the whole year, and they’re going to have to work for it.”
Watras said she is enjoying her first year as coach. “I learn something new every game,” she said, “but I love it. Even if I make a mistake, I’ll blame it on myself, but I love it and I’m glad to be here.”
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