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Manchester girls volleyball coach hoping to boost overall game

9/12/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

NEW FRANKLIN — First-year Manchester High School girls volleyball head coach Jim Maloof said the team’s realistic goals for this season are “all about improvement.”

“The first goal is to improve over last season,” he stated. “The second goal is to improve throughout the season.”

Last season, Manchester finished with a 4-19 regular season record.

“With respect to improvement, we are looking to improve at all parts of the game. I’m not trying to give a general answer, but there is room for improvement in all aspects of the team’s performance,” Maloof said. “As a team, we need to work on improving our serving and scoring. We need to do a better job of serving tough and hitting our zones. [There are also] stretch goals for side-out percentage and opponent side-out percentage. The realistic goal is for side-out percentage in all six rotations to exceed our opponents’ side-out percentage.”

Through Sept. 8, Manchester’s overall record was 2-4, with a 1-3 mark in the league.

“Through the first six games of the season, our side-out game has consistently improved,” the coach said. “This was one area we put a lot of time into early in the season.”

According to Maloof, this year’s team features two returning seniors — Micayla Bryant and Maggie Huggins — who he called “natural leaders.”

“Micayla Bryant is playing fast middle and is a great fast-set hitter. She also brings the flexibility of running slides and slower tempo sets. In addition, she is a great back-row hitter, providing another option to side out. Micayla leads the team in kills per game. She is also a great server, leading the team in ace percentage and serving percentage. Our opponents’ side-out percentage is lowest when she’s serving,” the coach said. “Maggie Huggins is playing strong outside hitter and is a force at the net. Maggie is leading the team in attack efficiency and attack percentage. She has a great vertical, giving her an advantage over blockers. In addition, Maggie is a primary passer on serve receive. She also brings solid defense and is in the top two in digs per game.”

Maloof said this year’s team has a strong junior class.

“Lexi Bartolet brings solid defense and serving to the team. She is in the top two in serving efficiency on the team. Her ability to dig a hard driven ball is the best on the team,” he stated. “Madison Hartman is playing opposite outside hitter. She has a unique ability to find the hole in the block and get kills. She is also a force at the net and puts up a solid block. Alex Klein is playing the strong middle and is a force at the net. She is a great slide hitter and brings the flexibility of hitting the fast tempo sets. In addition, she is a great back-row hitter, providing yet another option to side out. Allie Richmond is the setter in a 5-1 offense. She does a good job of mixing up the sets to keep the defenses off balance. She also brings solid blocking in the front row and the ability to dig the hard driven ball in the back row. Shawna Schneider is a fast middle and is constantly improving. Her ability to hit the fast tempo sets in the front row is steadily increasing along with her ability to hit the back-row set.”

In addition, Maloof said, the team has several sophomores who are playing key roles this year.

“Tatum Christy is the libero and brings a lot of athleticism and speed to the back row. Her defense is a great asset to this team,” the coach said. “Whitney LaBillois is an opposite outside hitter. Her hitting is improving and she will be a force in the front row. Siera Sipe is an outside hitter and has made an impact playing opposite in the front row. She continues to improve both as a hitter and blocker. Jenna Williams is playing fast outside hitter. She is a primary passer and is leading the team in serve receive percentage and good serve receive percentage. She brings solid defense to the team and is leading the team in digs per game. In the front row, she is making an impact as both an attacker and blocker.”

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