By Josh Galvin ’13
Rejuvenated by a large influx of fresh talent, Brophy’s JV and varsity volleyball teams look to gain new valuable members and strengthen existing bonds in light of last year’s shortcomings.
After suffering a string of disheartening losses last season, the athletes seemed to grow apart and lose their motivation according to varsity head coach Mr. Tony Oldani. This disbanded feeling culminated at the end of a shortened season.
“Last year we didn’t even make the state playoffs – a very disappointing season,” said Nick Benson ’12, the returning varsity setter.
However, with the new year comes new potential.
Out of the 67 athletes who tried out for the JV and varsity teams this season, coaches chose 30. This mix of younger players and seasoned veterans creates a unique blend of skill sets that could prove beneficial, but also leaves Mr. Oldani with a tough decision.
“The caliber of the kids is fantastic; the varsity team is going to be very good,” Mr. Oldani said.
“But the difficult part is picking those kids. We’re in the position now that we’re going to have to cut some returning guys, because we’ve just gotten that good at the varsity level,” he said.
Despite the tension cuts to the team may bring, Mr. Oldani maintains an optimistic outlook on the performance of the team so far.
“I’ve seen much greater growth in our teamwork and our relationships with each other, as that was one of our struggles last year more so than physical talent,” he said.
“Their preseason workouts have been fantastic… they have taken on the new identity of a collective unit,” Mr. Oldani said.
The formation of an all-Brophy club team in the offseason helped the athletes band together. With six tournaments behind them, the team has developed a greater sense of camaraderie and cooperation.
“This year we have a much different and much more mature team,” Benson said in email.
The players learned from their mistakes and came out of the off season with a new, positive attitude, according to Mr. Oldani.
“(Last year) we were a younger team in terms of experience… rather than pulling together to face adversity, we were quicker to point the finger and place blame on what was causing it. This year’s senior class is a much stronger group than last year’s in talent, leadership and poise,” Mr. Oldani said.
This leadership displayed by the seniors may be just what less experienced teammates need to allow the team to flourish as a whole.
Additionally, spirits have improved as well, as Benson attested.
“It’s going to be a very fun season. I’m looking forward to it,” Benson wrote.