The varsity team celebrates after contributing to a winning effort against Cherokee Christian School on Senior Night. The volleyball teams all had winning records this season under new leadership. photo by Caroline Walker
Increased interest in the volleyball program has caused this year’s roster to skyrocket. Throughout the volleyball season, new changes became evident in the team’s performance. With the combined number of players for the middle school and high school teams reaching 62, it is no surprise that new measures have been taken to keep up with the additional players. Including 46 girls last year, the expanded roster increased by 35%, creating record-breaking popularity for the sport. Wesley Richard, assistant coach to the JV and varsity teams, believes that volleyball “builds well rounded athletes.”
“Playing Volleyball improves both physical and mental development,” Coach Richard said. “On the physical side, players enhance their coordination, balance and agility. On the mental side, volleyball teaches teamwork, communication and strategic thinking.”
Every year, the school hosts a Volleygirl program to introduce 3rd-8th grade girls to the sport. This extra program may have contributed to the increased popularity of the sport, especially for middle schoolers. By adding a third middle school team, the program was able to include 16 more players.
However, the influx of players requires additional resources. In order to maintain the five teams’ game and practice schedules, a new court was needed to supplement the school’s gym.
“Our growth and the ability to handle the growth is in God’s hands,” Coach Richard said. “Without the blessing of TKA purchasing Hopewell Baptist Church, we would not have had enough space or ability to have five volleyball teams this year.”
Coinciding with the purchase of the new facility came a change in the coaching lineup. This year, Danielle Camp stepped in the role of Head Coach to the varsity and JV teams. As Coach Camp becomes a leader in these girls’ lives, she implements crucial changes into her teachings.
“Volleyball is known as a game that is 90% mental, so I am really trying to work with the girls this season, not just on the physical part but also on the mental part as well so they can be the best athletes they can be mentally and physically,” Coach Camp said.
From adding a new team to welcoming a new coach, the volleyball program succeeded in expanding its reach while simultaneously encouraging each player to use strategy and skill to succeed on the court. Their hard work paid off, when the Varsity team participated in a regional game on Oct. 3. The volleyball program has overall been very successful with the varsity team generating 10 wins over the course of the season, six more than last season’s total.