Young Highland volleyball team outpaces expectations
GRANGER — Highland High School volleyball head coach Jeff McDivett said his team “did better than others expected, but not as good as we wanted” this season.
Highland finished with a 14-9 overall record. The team’s season ended with a loss to Copley High School in the district semifinals Oct. 23.
“Our goal would have been to finish better than 14-9, but a lot of people didn’t even think we’d be that good,” he said. “We graduated eight seniors last year, and five were starters, so it was difficult for a lot of people to think we’d be as good as we were. But we set our goals high and try to accomplish them. If we don’t, we continue to adjust.”
McDivett said his team had a bit of an “up and down” season.
“In the middle, we got flat and didn’t play our best volleyball,” he noted. “But in the beginning we played good, and towards the end we played good. It was a weird season. We could have had a better record if we would have played better in the middle of the season. But as young as they are, they performed right about where they should have.”
One of the team’s two seniors this season was Alex Schuhle, who McDivett called “one of the hardest-working kids I’ve ever seen in my life.”
“In the offseason, she went to three camps on her own,” he said. “She sets an example for her teammates as far as discipline. Plus, her volleyball IQ is extremely high. She’s a great student of the game, and with her athletic ability and how hard she works, she’s a remarkable volleyball player. She’s such an offensive weapon that we could use her in multiple aspects. She’s one of those rare kids that you get to coach in a career. I can’t say enough about her. I could go on and on about her for two hours straight.”
The other senior on the team this year was Miranda Lewicki.
“Miranda is always a positive person,” the coach said. “She doesn’t take losing easy, but she looks on the positive side no matter what. She was a co-captain this year, even though her playing time was limited, and that would be a hard thing for any senior. But she would set an example in practice and worked hard to improve. She made every effort to bring a positive aspect to the team, which the girls saw, and they made her a co-captain along with Alex.”
Some key players from this season that McDivett said he is looking to see lead the team next year are junior Maddie Patrilla and sophomores Mallory Adams and Allie Branco.
“Everybody that’s returning next year is going to be very key for us,” the coach said. “The sophomore class we have is extremely talented. All of our [junior varsity] players were sophomores and one freshman, and all of our varsity players were juniors and seniors. Tryouts next year are going to be extremely tough. It’s a good place for us to be in. We had a good run this year and now we’re ready for next year.”
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