CAMDEN — Preble Shawnee volleyball coach Kristy Cottingim believes the upcoming season is about a young team learning to play the game at varsity level as much as it is about winning games.
“The goals for the team this year are compete for league, get comfortable with each other on the court. Learn to compete at the varsity level. Learn, learn, learn. We have a lot of athletic talent and potential but we are very young and inexperienced,” Cottingim said of her team as they begin the 2015 volleyball season.
The youth will look up to the team’s returning players like senior middle-hitter Madison Elkins, who at 6 feet tall looks to be one of the team’s most important players during her final season.
Elkins will receive plenty of help as Junior Elise Walker is back and will act as the team’s setter and play the role of outside-hitter.
Cottingim also said to look out for junior setter Savannah Lynch and sophomore hitter Malorie Plaugher, who are expected to be important members of the young team.
She also mentioned junior libero Brianna Wells whom Cottingim described as very stable. “She should provide the team with some levels of consistency,” Cottingim said.
Cottingim said for a team as young as her own, every single match is important in the learning process. Having such young players means Cottingim needs her players to learn on the fly this season, and learn from their mistakes as the season goes on.
She said she believed matches against Dixie on Sept. 10 at Dixie and at home on Sept. 29, were going to be important matches during the season. She also mentioned matches against Waynesville at home on Sept. 15 and on the road on Oct. 1.
Despite their youth, the team is one of the taller teams the program has had in the past several years, according to Cottingim, making play at the net important for victories this season.
Going along with having so much height is having multiple hitters who can have plays to run for, something Cottingim says makes it much more difficult for teams to prepare for.
Cottingim, however, believes the talent is there for a successful season.
“ The main thing we need to do to have a successful season is to just play,” she said. “Young teams often play a little more cautiously than more experienced teams. If we let loose and allow our athletic talent to take over, we will have a great season.”
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062