By Latesha Johnson| email@example.com
A new breed of talent has filled the Flagler College women’s volleyball program.
Coach Brian Heffernan brought in fresh, young blood by adding eight freshmen to the roster in hopes that the six returning players can help groom them on and off the court.
“We have some hard-working returning athletes who have invested a lot into this program and set a positive example in practice,” Heffernan said.
Heffernan said they spent the entire spring working on team culture.
“The returnees wanted to be ready to welcome the freshmen into a strong and cohesive team culture.”
Four-year veteran Abby Meyers is one of six returnees. She embraces the responsibility and hopes that it will put this year’s team into a winning position in the classroom as well as in competition.
“As upperclassmen, it is our job to set a great example for the freshmen,” Meyers said.
“Last year we ranked second in team GPA, so we plan on continuing that. We also have made it to the regional tournament since we had been a part of the Peach Belt Conference, so it is important that we continue to work hard as a team to reach that goal once again,” Meyers said.
Freshman Ashley Cheewah says the returnees have set an example through positive leadership.
“The upperclassmen help us by showing us how to be team players, and they push [us] to be the best that we can,” she said.
All eight freshmen play a big role on this team. They will serve as the core of Saints volleyball for years to come.
“As of right now, with eight freshmen and two sophomores, we already have a talented team for the next year,” Cheewah said. “This will make our next few seasons that much better with a solid 10 [players] for a few years.”
Heffernan is also looking forward to the success of his freshmen as they grow together as a team.
“The best teams I have ever been a part of had a core of players who had been together for many years,” said Heffernan. “Many freshmen [are] already making major contributions this year. The future looks very bright with a lot of hard work, a commitment to our program culture and the ability to raise their own expectations in the years ahead.”
The team holds a record of 7-4 so far this season, being undefeated at home. Heffernan hopes his team can improve in several areas so they can be successful now.
“We are making unforced errors at a rate that will not allow us to compete at a high level,” he said. “Right now we have way too many serving, setting and passing errors, and we are leading the nation in net violations.”
Cheewah says the mentality of the team counts the same regardless when they win or lose.
“We have to improve on communication during the game and go to every gym and say we own this gym, and stick with that,” Cheewah said. “Home games are easier; it is our gym, our court, our fans. We must take this mentality and bring it to every tournament and away game we play in.”
“This is what will make us a consistent and powerful team,” she said.