Despite various injuries, ranging from concussions, to muscle injuries, to split lips, and even illnesses, the girls volleyball team has fought to earn a respectable 13-3 regular season record.
“I think the girls realize that they have to step it up,” said Head Coach Heather Schoemaker. “We continually tell them you need to do your job. We have a deep bench that is capable of being ready to go into a new position.”
The girls are led by their three senior captains, Emily Sterner, Brooke Gladfelter and Rachel Groff. Amongst their responsibilities during the plays, the seniors have to keep the girls motivated and ready to adjust to change.
“You just have to keep the girls calmed down,” said Groff. “When it’s 24-23, they’re looking at you and you have to tell them ‘calm down, we got this, take a deep breath.’”
“Being a senior, a lot of the younger people look up to us,” said Gladfelter. “And I think we need to show that everything we went through to get to where we are it all pays off. “
Although Coach Schoemaker is focused on taking “one game at a time”, both the seniors and underclassmen can’t help but look forward to their place in playoffs.
“I think that we can make it to counties, districts and if we set our minds to it, we can go to states,” said Gladfelter. “But we need to have the mindset that we can make it there, we can’t just think it, we have to actually execute.”
There will be a ferocious fight for the playoff spots between Red Lion, Central and Dallastown, the division’s most competitive and rivaled teams.
“I can’t say too much because it’s still an open book,” said Sterner. “But if everything goes well, then everything should be in place for maybe districts, possibly further.”
Adjusting to change and properly preparing for a sport most definitely requires a lot of hard work, which Coach Schoemaker says “this group has done very well. I haven’t seen that in my four seasons at Red Lion.”
“Their hard work is showing off, that they can persevere through adversity when we are given an injury or the flu or infections or whatever we’re given,” said Schoemaker. “They’re continually getting better.”
“We’ve come a pretty long way from last year,” said Groff. “We lost some players, we lost some height, but we also gained a lot of players. A lot of players have also gotten more ability and more skill, so I think the start of the season was a little rough, but we’ve definitely improved and I see big things for us in the future.”