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The Little Hawk

Young Leadership Guides Volleyball Team

Ellie+Evans+%2719+aims+for+a+kill+during+the+Little+Hawks%27+match+versus+Cedar+Rapids+Washington+on+September+26th.+
Ellie Evans '19 aims for a kill during the Little Hawks' match versus Cedar Rapids Washington on September 26th.

Ellie Evans '19 aims for a kill during the Little Hawks' match versus Cedar Rapids Washington on September 26th.

Elli Dailey

Elli Dailey

Ellie Evans '19 aims for a kill during the Little Hawks' match versus Cedar Rapids Washington on September 26th.

Addy Smith, Sports Editor

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Young. A term frequently used in reference to the 2017 City High Volleyball team; a group with only three returning varsity letterwinners and one senior. On the outside it may be easy to write off the team due to their lack of experience, but Head Coach Craig Pitcher wants to make sure his team knows that being young doesn’t have to be an excuse for not being successful.

“We’ve talked about it and we decided that yeah we might be a young team, but are we a good team? I don’t want young to be an excuse that it’s okay not to complete a task, or finish a set when we’re up 19-13. I told them that, ‘Young is no longer, you guys are the varsity team,’” Pitcher said.

Led by Juniors Ellie Evans and Mackenzie Murphy, the team is 6-8 on the season, and captured big wins against #3 ranked West Des Moines Valley and #15 Johnston. Last week the team swept Cedar Rapids Kennedy, a team that went to state last year.

“I think that when we focus, this team can make some noise and could be a tough out. Everything depends on matchups,” Pitcher said. “There are some teams that have a strong middle that might be a bad matchup for us. We can make our matchups better depending on how we play.”

After losing starters Shannon James, Alexa Aldrich-Ingram, Ellie Grace Dixon, Sydney Schroder, and Shannon Stamp this year’s team has had to fill key positions on the court with brand-new members of the varsity squad.

“This year [we’ve had to] regroup and understand we’re a young team and accept that we have a lot more to improve individually and as a team,” Mackenzie Murphy ‘19 said.

A side effect of putting players together who have never played together are the challenges that come along with not having the earned trust necessary to work as a cohesive unit.

“Now I think [our biggest challenge] is turning into trust. Do we trust each other to do everyone’s job? Do I know the person in front of me is not going to get a ball when it’s coming at that angle? Whatever the case may be,” Pitcher said.

No matter the amount of time spent spent playing together, every player on the varsity team has off-season playing experience which boosts the team’s ability to execute routine skills. According to Quikstats, the team boasts a 0.911 serving efficiency and 63 aces on the season.

“Lately as far as the actual physical skill, our serving has been pretty solid,” Pitcher said. “We’ve been taking teams out of what they really want to do initially, which gives us a chance to play some defense.”
Although he remains focused on the present, Coach Pitcher can’t help but be excited for the future of his so-called young team.

“Now it’s just a matter of thinking, ‘What pros and what cons does this team have and what do we need to do [to improve]?’”Pitcher said. “So yes there’s some excitement [for the future], but we also need to look for deficiencies and think about how they can be addressed from the players that we have here, as well as the incoming players.”

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Young Leadership Guides Volleyball Team