Fair Grove Serving Up a New Season

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Hannah Maxwell (9) jumps for a ball in a home game against Buffalo.

Ashlyn Tiller, Photo Editor

On August 27th, the Fair Grove volleyball team played in their jamboree at Republic, and competed with Republic in every set.

Coach Tonya Peck explained that the junior varsity showed nerves in the first set but came back strong in the second. The varsity had opportunities of winning each set they played in. Peck commented, “The level at which Republic plays really helped push us and allowed us to see what we are still needing to work on.”

According to the players, starting off the season was a little harder this year. This is because of all of the changes and new rules that come with the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the changes include wearing masks, sanitizing hands and equipment, not huddling in groups, spacing out drills, not switching sides of the court or shaking hands before the game. Senior Sarah Beals explained, “Previous year we have been able to stand and talk to each other before practice and bond as friends and teammates, but now I feel a lot of that has been cut short because of the use of masks.”

The team still kicked off their preseason, even if there were changes. Usually in the summer the team has four weeks of weights and attends a few summer camps and tournaments. This year, they only had three weeks of weights and the varsity did not attend their main summer camp, but that didn’t stop the team from having a helpful preseason. Sophomore Katie Muller said, “Preseason and summer camps are definitely helpful before we actually get on the court in season. It gives us a feel for the game again after being off for a few months and It helps everyone get back into shape and ready to play.” 

“Since all 5 seniors from last year were in the starting rotation, they of course have left big holes to fill.  This has created a great competitive environment as players are fighting for spots,” commented Peck.  She went on to say that the leadership roles will be filled by Lauren Kennard, Sarah Beals and a handful of other girls what will make an impact on the court, like juniors Chloe Reynaud, Audrey Williams, Kaci Collins, Macee McAtee, Paige Robinson, and Hailey Hulette, as well as sophomores Katie Muller and Kameron Green, and freshman Allison Findley and Hannah Maxwell. 

“There are quite a few others that could potentially see court time and I’m excited to see how all of these girls continue to improve.” Peck added. 

Since there are such big holes to fill, the team chemistry will look different this year. Beals noted that this year both the varsity and junior varsity teams already have pretty good chemistry, but there is always room for improvement. She continued, “As of now though we have a lot of growing pains, but if we all keep working on and off the court like we have been, we will be one of the best teams to come through Fair Grove high school, because we have the mindset to win and to be the best.”

The team expects to continue to improve throughout the season. Peck mentioned, “With this group having so many new faces, I feel our growth is going to be a nightly thing.  I’m excited for this group.  More so than I have been in quite some time.  They have so much potential.  Now to see if they buy in and work to reach that potential!” 

Beals hopes the team could make it to state for her senior year, but to get there they’ll face some tough challenges. Beals concluded, “Every year we have a good line up of tough teams including Willard, Marshfield, and Clever but I always feel like there is one team we all truly want to beat, and it is our toughest game. Stafford. They are our biggest rival and every season we work to beat them. I truly feel that this year is gonna be the year we crush the Indians.”

 

The volleyball team’s next game will be on 9/19 at the Buffalo Lady Bison Invitational.

Volleyball photos can be found here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1nZsmk5v26Nf3njVgm4CUuoU1Ubn_RwxV?usp=sharing