Ocean City Today

Wor. Prep volleyball players ‘click pretty well,’ coach says

By Managing Editor, Lisa Capitelli | Sep 07, 2017
Photo by: Lisa Capitelli Worcester Prep seniors Sophia Bandorick, left, and captain Camryn Sofronski battle at the net during practice last week. “This year already we’re off to a great start,” Sofronski said. “We just flow fantastic and our skills have [improved].”

(Sept. 8, 2017) The Worcester Prep volleyball team graduated its two captains, but all of the other girls who competed last year are back for the 2017 season.

With experience playing together, the Lady Mallards know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and have picked up where they left off at the end of last season and can build from there.

“They click pretty well, they understand the rotation, they’re communicating and they build each other up. They work well together,” said Prep Coach Keith Donoway. “We’re fine-tuning, we don’t have to teach volleyball. They’re familiar with each other and they already have a great sense of camaraderie.”

Donoway, now in his third year as coach, said many of the girls are close in ability. When he scored them doing different drills during tryouts they were all pretty close. The top 12 earned varsity spots.

“We’re trying to find the best combination that works together in game situations,” Donoway said. “The goal this season is to be a more competitive team and to make sure the players don’t hit a plateau and grow as athletes.”

Many of the girls have been on the team for several years. From Donoway’s first season as coach to his third, he has seen his players improve. Last year was better than the first and he hopes this season will be even better.

The team consists of nine seniors and three juniors.

“We have a lot of depth and talent and a lot of great leadership on the team,” Donoway said. “They look really strong, but we still have room for improvement. It’s going to be a fun year. It’s nice to see how far they’ve come in three years.”

Returning to the court are seniors Caroline Pasquariello (libero), Camryn Sofronski (middle), Sophia Bandorick (middle) and Stevie Eppard-Annis (outside hitter), and junior setters Hailey Merritt and Maria Deckmann.

Senior Deborah Marini joins the team as an outside hitter. Donoway said she is very positive and an asset to the squad.

Pasquariello earned All-Conference honors for her performance during the 2016 season, when the team went 3-10. This is her fourth year competing for Worcester.

As a libero (defensive specialist) and with four years’ experience, Pasquariello said she will help lead the team “especially when we’re getting down, I’m supposed to be the one to pump everyone up and make sure everyone’s doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”

“We’re already a close-knit team [and the goal is] to become even closer,” she said. “We would like to make it to the ESIAC championship.”

Sofronski has also been on the team for four years. She and Pasquariello are captains this year.

“This year already we’re off to a great start. I’m really just proud of the team as a whole,” she said. “I think that with Caroline and my leadership we can help the team skyrocket.

“We just flow fantastic and our skills have [improved]. With our teamwork and our love for each other I think we’ll go great places,” she added. “Everyone’s passing and hitting and communicating and we just have such great teamwork. I know that this is definitely going to be the best season.”

Donoway said the Mallards are focusing on the way they initiate each rally whether they start or end it, and being more consistent with serving as well and when receiving the serve.

“Then our talented hitters and setters can work effectively,” he said.

“Having this opportunity to be with the people I spent all high school with and having one last go at something we love to do together is fantastic,” Sofronski said.

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