By Mark Robinson
Following a 25 team volleyball tournament held at Greenbrier East last Saturday, head coach Matt Sauvage reflected on the recent progress of the team. “As a whole, this team, as young as we are, five freshmen, five sophomores, two juniors, one senior, we’re doing really well. I was wondering how it would play out, and we’re ahead of where I expected us to be at this point, that’s all I can ask for from the team. When it comes to their personalities and the pride and the passion they play with, it’s the best I’ve ever had in a team. The communication, they get along great with each other. This team will do anything I ask them to do, so I couldn’t ask for more than that.”
East won its bracket, and advanced to the final rounds of play, held between the five bracket winners. They lost to Woodrow Wilson, which finished the runner-up in the tourney.
Sauvage talked about some of the tactical shifts the team has made: “Up through about a week ago, we had a certain rotation out there, and two days before the tournament we changed our whole rotation. We moved some people around. We moved Karlei from outside to right side, from middle back to setter. We moved Taylor Dunbar, who was playing JV, she is now our middle. Moved Kari Arbuckle to right side, she had been playing back row. Moved Haley McClure from middle to outside.”
“We base those decisions on two things: one is what we see, and two is the stats. I’m a firm bellievver that most of the time stats don’t lie, sometimes they do, but most of the time stats don’t lie, and we looked at the stats, and there were certain people who needed to get more swings. There were certain people who needed to be back row, not front row, or vice-versa. So we went with this rotation. We had only practiced it one time for thirty minutes, and we played Saturday’s tournament with this rotation, and they were already playing better than they were with the old rotation, so I’m hoping this is going to kickstart us for the end of the season.”
The coach impressed with the progress of the freshmen and sophomores. “Especially with the young ones, stats don’t tell everything. They haven’t done it very much, so the more they do it, the more it’s like, oh, she can do this. Both my assistant coach, Taylor Curry, and myself, we’re both excited about the talent, and the desire to excel. If we ask them to run 10 miles a day, they’d say yes sir, coach, and they’d go do it. They want to be the best they’re able to be.”
East’s volleyball team was slated to have an away tournament at George Washington on Saturday, October 1. The next home match after that is Oct. 18.