Twelve young ladies at Auburn Middle School set out last August wanting to learn and get better in the game of volleyball. Those two goals were successfully met, as the Eagles won the Three Rivers District middle school title with a perfect 10-0 mark, while finishing 13-3 overall last week.
“This season has been just amazing to see how far along the girls have come. Our first game they looked terrified and nervous,” said first-year head coach Jana Mosby.
“Our biggest successes this year have been serving and passing. You can’t play the game if you can’t do those two things. I spent the first three weeks of practice doing just passing drills. They had to learn you can’t hit if you can’t pass. By the end of those 3 weeks I knew we were going to be one of the best passing teams. I was so proud of them. My goal was for excellent passing and together we met that goal.”
This year’s team included Corey Altizer (setter), Bryn Distler (setter), Jordan Moles (middle/outside hitter), Abi Lester (defensive specialist), Brittany Huff (middle/outside hitter), Paige Fisher (outside hitter), Kylie Naughton (outside hitter), Andrea Tiller (middle hitter), Olivia Phillips (outside hitter), Kayla Altizer (setter), Leah Earnest (middle hitter) and Makayla Burlingame (libero).
“Each player has something to contribute to the team. Our outside hitters are probably our strongest hitters right now. I have some girls that had experience before this year and some that didn’t,” said Mosby. “But each one has had moments that still stick out in my find. Rather they were just mind-blowing hits, awesome digs, or their first serve they find, whether got over. You can’t replace those moments of excitement or faces of surprise.”
When asked on how the players had been on wanting to learn, Mosby replied, “These girls wanted to do nothing but learn and get better. I’m constantly teaching and coaching new techniques and they all hung in there and picked it up. It’s been a great season of learning new things, which is wonderful! If they didn’t do something right they want to know how to fix it. You can’t ask for more in athletes than for them to just want to be coached. They are all coachable girls.”
As for the younger players, what did the coach concentrate on? “With the younger girls I try to focus on being positive. At the beginning of the season I told my girls this season was going to be about learning and making mistakes. The thing they had to do was learn from those mistakes. That was their goal. I have some that are really hard on themselves. But I’m always telling them “it’s ok”. They just smiled.”
Mosby said in closing about this year’s success,” I have thoroughly enjoyed this season. From watching each girl learn, grow, and get so much better to getting to know each one. Everyone has something they have improved on.”