After a "disappointing" 2010-2011 campaign, the girls' volleyball team comes in with a new face at head coach, a new style both offensively and defensively and a solid foundation for what makes to be a potential district-venturing team in 2011-2012.
"Varsity struggled last year," said fourth-year junior varsity head coach Sarah Kalish. "We had our ups and downs. It was a very rough season. We only lost two seniors, but a lot of our returning players have a lot of varsity experience. So, I’m really confident and positive that this is going to be a great season for the girls."
Those two seniors were Cori Armstrong and Lauren McGrory.
First-year head coach Josh McNulty, who coached under his mother for six years at St. Eleanor Catholic School in Collegeville, comes in with plenty of experience coaching, as has also coached club ball for five years.
"We had a scrimmage and I really saw Josh blending well with the girls," Kalish said. "I see some really good relationships forming, so I don’t really seeing that as a detriment to the team this year. I think it will help us along and change things up. I think it will work."
McNulty said this year's squad has good structure, a few very strong players, as well as some promising new comers that could blend to become a great team.
The girls bring in four seniors - Shannon Stenson, Kendall Janus, Liz Erdman and Amanda Goodrich - who McNulty said are all verbal leaders. However, the big scoring threat is junior Kirsten Overton.
"She’s just a powerhouse," said McNulty. "She jumps so high, hits the ball hard."
Josie Swenson is a sophomore lefty, playing on the right side. The other sophomore is setter Catherine Burger, who is working hard to get ready for the season. McNulty has confidence in his youngsters.
"I have [another] setter in Anna Saccarelli," McNulty said. "She’s a freshman this year. She’s got incredible hands. She knows the position. If anything were to happen to my setter now, I would definitely pull her off the bench and throw her in. I have another freshman, Maddy Sciubba. She’s tall. We’re working with her a lot. She’s good at blocking. If needed, I could bring her up, too."
Despite a tough schedule, McNulty foresees a run for districts. Among the harder teams that the Rams are targeting are Pope John Paul II, who are second on the schedule, and also are played again in early October, Unionville, who crushed the Rams last year and Avon Grove.
"From what I heard about last year and where we are now, we’re in a better position," McNulty said. "We’re just going to keep pushing hard. We’re shooting for states this year. We have a strong structure to build on, so as long as they keep working hard, we shouldn’t have a problem getting to districts."
McNulty reiterated his confidence in his new team and is excited to get things started on Friday.
"I’m kind of stirring the pot here and changing things up," said McNulty. "It was same old, same old, and now I’m coming in and totally going in a new direction, changing our defense and offense around a lot. It’s going to take a little bit of time for them to get used to it, but once they do, I really think we have a shot at districts this year."
Spring-Ford High School Girls' Volleyball 2011-2012 Schedule:
9/2 - Season Opener @ Springfield-Delco (11:00 a.m.)
9/6 - Away @ Pope John Paul II H.S. (6:00 p.m.)
9/8 - Away @ Downingtown East (5:00 p.m.)
9/10 - Spring-Ford Tournament (8:30 a.m.)
9/13 - Home Opener vs. Octorara Area H.S. (5:00 p.m.)
9/15 - Away @ West Chester Rustin H.S. (5:00 p.m.)
9/19 - Home vs. Oxford Area H.S. (7:00 p.m.)
9/21 - Away @ Great Valley (5:00 p.m.)
9/23 - Home vs. Sun Valley (5:00 p.m.)
9/26 - Home vs. West Chester East H.S. (7:00 p.m.)
9/28 - Away @ Coatesville Area Senior H.S. (5:00 p.m.)
10/4 - Away @ Bishop Shanahan (5:00 p.m.)
10/6 - Home vs. Henderson H.S. (5:00 p.m.)
10/11 - Home vs. Unionville (7:00 p.m.)
10/13 - Away @ Kennet (5:00 p.m.)
10/14 - Home vs. Pope John Paul II H.S. (6:00 p.m.)
10/17 - Home vs. Downingtown West (7:00 p.m.)
10/19 - Away @ Avon Grove (5:00 p.m.)
10/20 - Home vs. Perkiomen Valley (7:00 p.m.)