Ocean City Today

More than 40 players try out for Decatur volleyball teams

By Managing Editor, Lisa Capitelli | Aug 31, 2017
Photo by: Lisa Capitelli "We still have a lot of work to do to be as strong as I’d like us to be, but I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m excited,” said Stephen Decatur Coach Sara Patrick. Pictured during Monday’s practice, from left, are sophomores Mae Purnell and Summer Vorsteg and junior Alexis Black.

(Sept. 1, 2017) A record number of girls tried out for the Stephen Decatur varsity and JV volleyball teams this season, proving that interest in the sport locally is growing.

“Forty-four tried out this year. That’s the most we ever had,” said Sara Patrick, now in her third season as head varsity coach. “I think 26 was the most we had since I’ve been coaching. I think the club program [Delaware Volleyball Academy] has been sparking interest. There’s more opportunity outside of school.”

There are 10 Lady Seahawks on the varsity team, five of them competed last year when the team went 9-7. Decatur’s season ended with a loss to Atholton in the 3A East Region Section II semifinals.

Two sophomores and 10 freshmen make up the JV squad. They are coached this year by Sarah Wofford.

Patrick said Wofford is “amazing” and brings in a ton of knowledge. She was a middle hitter and will guide the girls playing that position. Janet Davidson, Patrick’s assistant, will focus on working with the setters.

Patrick’s roster consists of one senior, six juniors and three sophomores.

“We’re a young team. Even though we’re young, they’re pulling together and doing a good job,” Patrick said. “We still have a lot of work to do to be as strong as I’d like us to be, but I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m excited.”

Patrick wants the girls to be able to make adjustments on the court themselves during games, be cohesive as a team and stay positive.

She also has three setter options so she can move players around.

“We’re a lot more versatile this year,” Patrick said.

A number of the girls played club ball with DVA during the offseason and came into preseason really strong, Patrick said.

“They’re playing year-round now. It’s starting us off at an advantage,” she said. “Our returning players are leading the team. They’re more comfortable on varsity.”

Piper Connors, a senior, and junior Victoria Koslosky are the squad’s captains.

Connors is the only senior. She played in the middle the last three years, but this season she will hit from the outside.

“She’s doing a great job keeping the girls focused and positive on the court,” Patrick said.

“I feel like I have a lot of knowledge of the game so I can help tell the girls where to go, when people are hitting I can call line or cross to get them in their bases for defense [and] if they tip I can yell early so they can move in to get it,” said Connors, a two-year varsity player.

Koslosky, also a two-year varsity player, will take over the libero position this year as the team graduated 2016 defensive specialist Claire Billings.

“[Koslosky’s] an amazing hitter, but she’s much more comfortable in the back row,” Patrick said.

“I really feel like the libero should be the loudest person on the team. I’m really loud and I feel like we should be able to communicate and tell people where the ball is going,” Koslosky said. “I played libero during club season, but this is my first time playing for Decatur. I’m pretty excited for this season to play back row. I’ve been looking forward to the season since club ended in April.”

Patrick said her captains have done a good job leading the team. She encourages them to be coaches on the court, run the floor and keep the girls focused.

“It is a lot more responsibility this year. It’s a lot of pressure but I feel like I can handle it,” Connors said.

In previous years, if a player made an error, they often got down on themselves. Patrick doesn’t want them to focus on a mistake, but to shake it off, let it go and prepare for the next play.

“We’re trying to be more positive,” she said.

Patrick said her new players have shown improvement, including sophomore Mae Purnell.

“I’m excited to see how she does this season,” Patrick said. “During our playday [last Saturday] the newcomers held their own. They are a great addition to the team.”

Patrick said she would love to compete for a Bayside Conference title this year. She hopes the girls can work together as a team and get past the habit of being individuals on the court. She wants them to be a cohesive unit and play to the best of their ability.

“Everyone’s big on Baysides this year because two years ago we lost [the chance to compete] on a coin flip,” Connors.

Sept. 6: North Caroline, 5 p.m. (H)

Sept. 11: Pocomoke, 5 p.m. (A)

Sept. 18: James M. Bennett, 5 p.m. (H)

Sept. 20: North Dorchester, 5 p.m. (H)

Sept. 25: Wicomico, 5 p.m. (A)

Sept. 27: Snow Hill, 5 p.m. (H)

Oct. 2: Parkside, 5 p.m. (A)

Oct. 4: Queen Anne’s, 5 p.m. (H)

Oct. 9: James M. Bennett, 5 p.m. (A)

Oct. 12: Pocomoke, 5 p.m. (H)

Oct. 16: North Dorchester, 5 p.m. (A)

Oct. 18: Wicomico, 5 p.m. (H)

Oct. 19: Parkside, 5 p.m. (H)

Oct. 23: Kent Island, 5 p.m. (A)

Oct. 25: Snow Hill, 5 p.m. (A)

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