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An impressive season from the Volleycats

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Over the past few months, with a new coaching style and an immense amount of work,
the volley cats seem to have hit their stride. After making it into the playoffs and winning their
first two matches, the team heads into the round of eight and looks to win the state
championship.
So far, the team has done extremely well. “This has been one of the best Westminster
volleyball records in quite some time,” says Coach Monroe, the new varsity head coach. The
team is currently ranked second in the area and has dominated most of its competition this
season. The volleycats upset Blessed Trinity at the Blessed Trinity Invitational and beat Pace
later on.
“We are really clicking as a team,” saya sophomore Soumia Vellanki. “Our offense and
defense have started to mesh well together. We have some really strong offensive and defensive
players this season.”
One factor in the volleyball team’s success this season is the new head coach, Catherine
Monroe. Before coming to Westminster, Coach Monroe coached varsity volleyball along with
competitive club volleyball in Amsterdam for eight years. Last year, Coach Monroe coached the
Westminster JV volleyball team and now she heads the Westminster varsity team. “Because of
her experience with volleyball in the Netherlands and the United States, Coach Monroe brings a
lot of volleyball knowledge and background,” says Soumia.
Coach Monroe also brings a new playing style and mentality to the team. “She focuses a
lot on ball control and the basics, so we have learned a lot from her. Also, she is very open and
accepting of all of the different types of playing styles on the team,” says Soumia.

Coach Monroe’s new mentality has helped the team achieve success, but it also took
some time for her to become integrated with the team. “Westminster is very traditionally and
culturally driven, so coming in with a different mindset forced an adjustment period,” says
Coach Monroe.
Although this adjustment took some time, a few factors including her JV experience,
summer camps, and bonding activities made the change easier. “Fortunately, a handful of the JV
players who I coached last year are on varsity. So that made it a bit of an easier transition for me
because I knew about six of the players already,” explains Coach Monroe. Another aspect which
allowed for a smooth integration were the summer camps. “Many of the varsity players and I
went to the University of Alabama team camp over the summer. So that really helped us get to
know each other before the start of the school year and allowed us to kick off the season well,”
says Coach Monroe.
Finally, the team and Coach Monroe engaged in multiple extra curricular activities in
order to improve their relationships amongst team members and with the new coach. “We went
rock climbing early in the season,” says sophomore Caroline Glahn. “We do yoga and
mindfulness every Monday, and we sometimes go bowling as a team.” These activities not only
made the adjustment in coach easier, but they also improved the rapport between teammates and
ultimately helped with teamwork in the matches.
Overall, as far as the change in coach, Coach Monroe says, “There weren’t any real
difficulties. the girls have been extremely receptive to what I bring and I have made sure that I
have respected what they have experienced thus far in their volleyball career at Westminster.”
Caroline Glahn says, “Coach Monroe integrated into the team well. We spent lots of time
with her before the season and off the court, so we got to know her well. Also, she listens to us and adjusts practice time and schedules to accommodate our problems and our school work if we
have an excess.” Coach Monroe’s ability to listen to and accommodate the players’ ideas and
problems has made her a well-liked coach on the team.
Coach Monroe’s successful integration into the team along with the high camaraderie due
to team extra curricular have made it much easier for the cats to perform this season. Another
factor that has contributed to the team’s great success this season is the work ethic of the athletes
on the team. The cats practice Monday through Friday for two to two and a half hours depending
on the day. “When they’re not practicing, they have full on competitions,” says Coach Monroe.
The cats often have two matches per week and they regularly compete on weekends as well.
Recently, the volleycats lost to their biggest rival Pace, in the area bracket play, making
their record one and one against Pace this season. Although this was a tough moment for the
volleycats, Coach Monroe thinks the loss was actually somewhat beneficial. “We gained a lot. It
was a teachable moment. You don’t get better unless you get set back some,” she says.
On October 19, the team drove down to Savannah to play their first two matches of the
state playoffs. They bounced back from their defeat against Pace and won both without much
trouble.
With the state championship looming, Coach Monroe says, “My goal is for the kids to
stay healthy. We are not cramming at this point, we are fine tuning some things, but they just
have to stay healthy, stay energetic, and go after it this last weak and a half.”
Ultimately, however, the main goal for most of the volleycats, as Caroline puts it, “is to
beat Pace in the state championship.”

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An impressive season from the Volleycats