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Springfield volleyball team improving on last season

8/29/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

SPRINGFIELD — Second-year Springfield High School volleyball coach Jessica Mazanetz said a familiarity with her system should lead to an improved performance for the team this year.

Last season, the team finished with an overall record of 6-15, but Mazanetz said the players were “learning a new system and new expectations because it was my first year.”

“This season, they are improving on the system they learned last year. We are working to be much more consistent, especially in serve receive and on defense,” she said. “I think a realistic goal for our team is to go .500 for the season. Even though we have a lot of seniors, in terms of volleyball we are fairly inexperienced at the varsity level. I expect a lot of improvement as the season goes on.”

One key for the team this year, Mazanetz said, will be playing with more consistency.

“When we are playing well and clicking as a team, we look really good. However, we need to be playing at that level on a more regular basis,” she stated. “We have quite a few juniors and seniors on this year’s team. However, in terms of volleyball playing experience, we are very young.”

The seniors on this year’s squad (with comments on each by the coach) are:

  • Makayla Pigott, middle hitter and captain: “Makayla’s offense will be very important to our success as a team this year. She will also see some time in the back row to pass. We will need her to help improve our serve receive.”
  • Chloe Williams, outside hitter: “Chloe is an extremely hard worker. She is very dedicated and will play a big role for us this year.”
  • Jenna Dray, libero: “We have high expectations for Jenna this season. She was our starting libero last year and will play the same role this year. She has worked really hard in the offseason to improve.”
  • Mandi Moore, outside hitter: “Mandi provides a lot of energy to our team. She will be a utility player for us and will be a great vocal leader.”
  • Ally Graham, middle hitter: “Ally is playing in her first volleyball season. She is a great basketball player and just a great athlete. She is picking up volleyball very quickly, and her height and vertical will improve our blocking.”
  • Lauren Witwer, outside hitter: “Lauren is a great team player. She will start the season seeing limited playing time, but her work ethic helps our team tremendously behind the scenes.”

According to Mazanetz, a trio of juniors (Hannah Jordan and captains Olivia Perkins and Katie Kern) will play key roles for the team.

“Hannah’s blocking will be extremely important to us this season. She will see a lot of time in the front row and is working to be more aggressive as an offensive threat,” the coach said. “Olivia will be like our quarterback on the court this season. She has improved her technique and her court presence from last year. We have very high expectations for Olivia this season. Katie is a very good all-around player with a high volleyball IQ. We will rely a lot on her consistency both in the front and back rows.”

In addition, Mazanetz said, freshmen Bailey Hall and Tara Weaver will see significant varsity time this season.

“Even though they are young, they have played a lot of volleyball and know the game well,” she stated. “They are working very hard to catch up to the speed of the varsity game.”

Kindra Cox is joining the Springfield volleyball program this year as the junior varsity coach, and Ashley Longworth will coach the freshmen.

“As a program, we put in a ton of time this summer to improve,” Mazanetz said. “We had over 30 girls at most of our open gyms, and we played in several summer leagues and tournaments. I have seen a ton of improvement from the beginning of the summer, and I’m sure there will be more as the season goes on.”

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