The Westminster Bi-Line

The student news site of The Westminster Schools

Breaking News

The Westminster Bi-Line

The Westminster Bi-Line

Volleyball has high hopes for 11th state win

As the volleyball team enters the home stretch of what has been a fantastic season, they hope to lock up an 11th state championship. Led by seniors Jillian Puskas and Margaret Strickland, the VolleyCats have a 14-6 record, and are ranked second in class AA as of Sept. 18. Assistant athletic director Jona Braden continues to lead the team as head coach, and she is joined again by assistants Taiwanna Billups and Colin Mackey.

Puskas and Strickland, the only two seniors on the team, are this year’s captains, and as such have had a profound effect on the volleyball team. “Being [a] captain is so much harder than I ever expected,” said Puskas. “I love every one of these girls like sisters.”

One unique aspect of the volleyball team is their wealth of talent throughout all grades. Juniors Ellie Hartman and Ellie Hogan, sophomores Kerrie Greene, Mason Rooney, and Mackenzie Shannon, and freshman Caroline Welsh share the spotlight, all spending a lot of time on the court.

Greene and Rooney in particular have stepped up as top performers on the squad. Although last year they were thrust into a major role rather quickly because of injuries, this year they have excelled in their defined roles.

“We see them as veterans on the floor, even though they are in their second season as varsity players,” said Braden. “They both have a huge responsibility to making and helping our systems offensively and defensively work. They play with a lot of passion and they always seem to feed off of each other.”

Greene and Rooney are not the only standout youngsters on this year’s squad. Caroline Welsh, the libero (or defensive specialist), has been fantastic this season as a freshman despite newly learning the position. Welsh plays on the same travel volleyball team, A5, as Greene and Rooney, a clear explanation for the trio’s chemistry on the court.

Although the team has had great success this year, they have had to face very steep competition. Greater Atlanta Christian, Lovett, and Wesleyan, all in the Wildcats’ division, were ranked in the preseason top five. However, these Cats have played rather well in region games, going 2-1 with wins over GAC and Lovett. This year, the Cats have not focused solely on one game or one opponent but instead keep the same mindset toward every game. Much like football coach Gerry Romberg, Coach Braden makes sure to schedule the toughest competition during the regular season to prepare the team for the playoffs.

“Every match is so critical toward our growth,” said Braden. “That competitive experience is really just an extension of what we are doing in practice.”

As state steadily approaches, the Cats have a positive but cautious outlook on their chances for state.

“It doesn’t matter who you have to play; when you get into postseason play, teams are putting their best foot forward to compete for a championship,” said Braden.

Braden has the team prepared and excited for another playoff push,” says Puskas. “I have extremely high hopes!” Hopefully the squad can reclaim some of their 2009 glory and capture another state title.

Watch the VolleyCats take down archrival Lovett.

More to Discover