Future bright for Baldwin girls volleyball

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Friday, November 16, 2018 | 9:24 PM


Baldwin’s junior varsity girls volleyball team didn’t take a back seat to many opponents this season, as the Highlanders finished with a 9-3 overall record.

“The JV girls this year did exactly what was expected of them,” said Jenna Snyder, Baldwin’s fourth-year junior varsity coach. “They learned what it means to work hard as a member of the Baldwin volleyball family.

“As these girls move up through the program, they will continuously learn and grow and will all be able to work as contributing members of the varsity team.”

The Highlanders’ captains in 2018 consisted of sophomore setter/outside hitter Louisa Tiriobo, and sophomore defensive specialists Rachel Kail and Grace Reed.

“The team voted on these three girls for captains because of their leadership ability, passion and knowledge for the game,” said Snyder, who was assisted by Liz Moeslein. “Louisa is a very versatile player who set and hit outside for our team.”

Kail and Reed successfully teamed up in the back row. Kail also competes in track and field, and is involved in the National Honor Art Society and Special Olympics program.

“Overall, I believe we had a very successful year,” Kail said. “Everyone really worked hard and came together as one, and that payed off with our winning season. The bond between our team contributed to the success on the court. And it was the coaches’ driving us to reach our true potential that transitioned us into such an exceptional team.

“It’ll be exciting to see the outcome of next year’s (varsity) team, since there’s such a variety of talent in Baldwin volleyball.”

Others in the starting rotation included freshman middle hitter Heidi Johnston, junior defensive specialist Megan Garda, sophomore middle hitter Makayla Mangan, sophomore setter Jess Noss, sophomore outside/right-side hitter Courtney Chapel, and freshman outside hitter Alexa Chapla.

Johnston missed part of the season because of an injury but started for both the JV and varsity when returning to the lineup late in the year.

“Heidi is a young player who is continuously trying to learn and ask questions,” Snyder said. “Her injury was an ankle sprain; it happened a few days after being called up to varsity. As she recovered, she was able to again split time between varsity and JV. She’s a player the program will look to continue to contribute over the next three years.”

Snyder talked about Chapla’s and Chapel’s progress.

“Alexa is a dominating player. She produced a lot of points for us with kills,” Snyder said. “Courtney is a very versatile player. She played middle when Heidi was injured, set when Louisa was injured, and hit outside and right side whenever needed.”

Johnston, Chapla, Noss, Garda and Mangan all suited up for both JV and varsity. Johnston and Chapla practiced with both squads, while Noss, Garda and Mangan practiced strictly with the varsity.

Two of the Highlanders’ top JV reserves were sophomores Lyssa Linden (DS) and Brooke Shannon (RS).

“At the JV level, we try to give equal playing time in order to allow the girls to develop their skills and provide experience, while still remaining a competitive team,” Snyder said.

Snyder is a 2011 Baldwin graduate, and was a three-year varsity volleyball player in high school. She continued her career on scholarship at Seton Hill, where she earned a degree in elementary education and special education.

She is employed with the Gateway School District as a (K-4) emotional and learning support teacher.

“Every year we begin our JV season with the goal in mind to develop skill and knowledge of the game in order to prepare these girls to move to the varsity level,” Snyder said, “and that is exactly what was accomplished.”

Kail ended by again discussing the “teamwork” that is involved in generating a successful volleyball season.

“I would like to mention the dedication of the coaches and the parents who committed their time to Baldwin volleyball,” she said. “They taught us how we have to work together as a team. The success of Baldwin volleyball is (the result of) an effort from everyone.”

Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.

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