The girls’ varsity volleyball team has a record of 11-2, excluding the matches they played during a weekend tournament.
The Cavs and their coaches, head coach Jason Kreps and assistant coach Sarah Song, said that their strong fan base is owed recognition for supporting the Cavs.
One of the team’s toughest matches was away against Forest Lake on Sept. 15. The boys’ soccer team and girls’ JV volleyball team were in the audience because they had played earlier games.
The Cavs came out strong in the first set, but lagged in the following sets. In the second set, the audience’s excitement was kindled, and a blaze of encouragement and cheers fired up the Cavs for their win, 3-2.
Kreps said that the match against Forest Lake would have been much harder without the audience support.
“It was awesome,” sophomore Kyra Petersen said. “After we battled it out and won, the teams’ cheers and loud reactions made the win that much better.”
Junior soccer player Aidan Cunningham said that the boys’ soccer team started to cheer to keep up with Forest Lake students cheering for their own team.
“Our team would feel discouraged and start to lose momentum, so we needed to keep our team energy up and match (the other crowd’s) cheering with ours,” Cunningham said.
According to Kreps, the size and thrill of the crowd in other matches drastically affects the players’ spirit.
“(The players) are more pumped,” Kreps said. “It can be a little nerve-racking at first, but (the girls) quickly get over it.”
Freshman Bella Mathisen said that people in the crowd can influence how well she plays too.
“If it’s people that I don’t know as well, I do better because I want to impress them,” Mathisen said.
Sophomore Nina Dym, chair of the spirit committee (created during the boys’ basketball season last winter) said that the committee will continue to support the Cavs in upcoming matches, but only when the girls go up against hard rivals.
“The whole point of the spirit (committee) is to push (the team) to go harder against demanding opponents,” Dym said.
Dym said that the spirit committee will likely attend all the playoff games.
Along with a strong fan base, a large number of seniors has strengthened the team, according to Kreps. Last season, there was only one senior, Erin Reddy, but this season there are three: Jenny Kerbs, Sydney Michel and Aidan Galati.
Kreps said that the team benefits from having more seniors because leadership roles can be spread to more girls.
“It’s nice because they’ve been with the program for a while, and not all the pressure is on one person like last year,” Kreps said.
“(The seniors) are such strong leaders because they’ve gone through so many seasons,” Petersen said.
“They can easily take control of our team during practices and games.”
Kreps also said that last year’s four freshman starters (Petersen, Yasmin Gupta and Annya and Katia Dahmani) have gained more volleyball knowledge and add to the team even more.
“(They) played club during the off-season too, so they really have two more years of experience now,” Kreps said.
Because of these factors, Song and Kreps are sure the girls will do well in their playoffs come mid-November.
Co-captain Michel said that the Cavs lost their semi-final match against Stone Ridge Christian last November because of their low endurance and mindset.
This year, the girls have worked on this fatal flaw by “shaking it off,” or moving on after a rough play or mistake, according to Song.
Kreps said that he and Song prepare the girls for the tougher teams they’ll face in the playoffs by getting them to keep up their intensity even in easy games and practice.
The girls will run situational drills, drills that force them to set up special defensive or offensive plays, in the week before playoffs.
“We’ll be doing a lot of transitions, blocking and defense,” Kreps said. “We’re also going to need a more diverse range of attacks.”
Michel said that fans should go to their last two games, before playoffs.
“We will be at our highest point and will be more competitive and talented than ever,” Michel said. “We will really be fighting and giving (it) our all.”
—By Sonja Hansen
This update does not include games after Thursday, Oct. 22, as it was previously published in the print edition on Oct. 27.