By Julian De Ocampo ’13
This year’s volleyball program is being met with success, as the varsity
volleyball team has only lost three games, while JV volleyball has gone undefeated as of April 16.
Varsity will soon make a bid in the state tournament.
Mr. Tony Oldani is the varsity head coach and Mr. Andrew Schmidbauer ’88 serves as assistant coach. Mr. John Taylor and assistant coach Ms. Katie Cardinali lead the JV team.
“We’ve had a good season to this point,” Mr. Oldani said. “We started the season with a very inexperienced team and have developed into a team that can make a deep run into the state tournament. We started the season with our sights set on winning the state championship and are still in a position to achieve that goal.”
Mr. Oldani said Nick Benson ’12 has been a key player all season and has the ability to play almost every position.
“Nick has an amazing understanding of the game and uses his intelligence on the court more than any player in our program’s history,” Mr. Oldani said. “Nick has evolved into a humble leader who seeks to help others improve in their understanding of the games nuances rather than showcase his individual talents.”
However, volleyball isn’t about the individual so much as the whole team, Junior Varsity assistant coach Ms. Cardinali said.
“Volleyball isn’t a solo sport,” she said. “Given that so many players participate in any given match, teamwork is essential. Even those on the bench play a major role in rallying and giving support at any given time.”
Ms. Cardinali said that she encourages students to try out for volleyball, even if they don’t have much volleyball experience.
“Even more important than being undefeated for JV is just to make sure that everyone is learning and developing,” she said. “A lot of guys have never touched volleyball this year. (Our goal) is to help players feel excited for the game and become better, more knowledgeable players.”
Ms. Cardinali advised students looking to join next year to try to join a club program or play volleyball recreationally to get a feel for the sport.
Ultimately, Ms. Cardinali and Mr. Oldani agreed that team-building and camaraderie is one of the biggest factors for this season.
“It’s nice to watch guys grow up through the program … I love the energy that our guys bring,” Ms. Cardinali said. “They work hard, but they really make me laugh, and I just think that’s a lot of fun.”
Mr. Oldani said that the level of friendship amongst teammates makes volleyball a sport for true team players.
“More than our record or tournament finishes, the players on this team have really connected with each other and have deeper relationships with each other than recent teams,” Mr. Oldani said. “I’m most proud of that as the defining characteristic of this team.”