P/sunny
60°
P/sunny
Hi 65° | Lo 42°

Girls Volleyball

There’s no place like home

Cougars become 1st varsity program to play in renovated gym after spending last year at SMS

  • The ConVal girls volleyball team lost to Campbell 3-1 in the first ever varsity match in the new gymnasium on Sept. 13, 2013.
  • The ConVal girls volleyball team lost to Campbell 3-1 in the first ever varsity match in the new gymnasium on Sept. 13, 2013.
  • The ConVal girls volleyball team lost to Campbell 3-1 in the first ever varsity match in the new gymnasium on Sept. 13, 2013.
  • The ConVal girls volleyball team lost to Campbell 3-1 in the first ever varsity match in the new gymnasium on Sept. 13, 2013.
  • The ConVal girls volleyball team lost to Campbell 3-1 in the first ever varsity match in the new gymnasium on Sept. 13, 2013.
  • The ConVal girls volleyball team lost to Campbell 3-1 in the first ever varsity match in the new gymnasium on Sept. 13, 2013.
  • The ConVal girls volleyball team lost to Campbell 3-1 in the first ever varsity match in the new gymnasium on Sept. 13, 2013.
  • The ConVal girls volleyball team lost to Campbell 3-1 in the first ever varsity match in the new gymnasium on Sept. 13, 2013.
  • The ConVal girls volleyball team lost to Campbell 3-1 in the first ever varsity match in the new gymnasium on Sept. 13, 2013.
  • The ConVal girls volleyball team lost to Campbell 3-1 in the first ever varsity match in the new gymnasium on Sept. 13, 2013.
  • The ConVal girls volleyball team lost to Campbell 3-1 in the first ever varsity match in the new gymnasium on Sept. 13, 2013.
  • The ConVal girls volleyball team lost to Campbell 3-1 in the first ever varsity match in the new gymnasium on Sept. 13, 2013.

It was a night that members of the ConVal girls volleyball program had looked forward to for a long time.

After spending all of last year playing at South Meadow School due to the renovations to the ConVal gymnasium, the wait made Friday one of those moments to remember.

The Cougars were finally home.

With Friday’s match against Campbell, the girls volleyball team became the first varsity program to play in the gym since its completion last April. It’s an honor that the players did not take lightly.

“That’s such a huge thing for us. We talk about it all the time,” said senior Cassandra Yerkes. “I’m so honored we’re the first senior class to really use the gym.”

Being without the gym was an adjustment throughout last school year, but the indoor athletic programs took one of the hardest hits. The original hope was to have the gym completed near the end of last basketball season in order to have a few home games, but that did not happen. So it was up to the volleyball program to open the new gym after spending all of last year at SMS.

“We have been waiting for this game for a long time,” said senior captain Sara Clemens. “We’ve been inviting everyone to come out.”

South Meadow was a suitable home for the 2012 season, but it was just not the same. The first varsity victory came last September at SMS and there is no question the team would rather it had happened at ConVal.

“Last year, being down at SMS it was really hard, so building up to this year we had an entire season to think about the new gym,” said Yerkes.

But that is all in the past. All the focus now is on the new gym area and making this a season to remember.

“This is probably the best it’s been since it started,” said coach Jenn Merrill. “It’s nice to be back at our own school in our own gym. I know the girls were excited about it.”

The 3-0 loss to Campbell may have been the only downside to Friday night’s festivities. But even the loss couldn’t bring down the players because of how well they played against last year’s No. 1 seed in Division III, especially in the first game when ConVal fell 25-18.

“I think that first game was our best showing,” said Merrill

There is high optimism around the program after finally breaking into the win column twice last year following back-to-back winless seasons — the first two as a varsity program.

Entering Friday’s match-up with Campbell, the Cougars stood at 1-1 after a 3-2 come-from-behind victory at Fall Mountain. It was the first time any ConVal volleyball team had been at .500 and the hope is that will not be the last in 2013.

The new facilities offer a lot for the indoor teams and volleyball is the first program to take advantage of it.

“To have all of us together, playing in here for the first time since we had the new gym was great,” said senior Dillon Thompson.

There is a nice new floor without numerous dead spots. The gigantic ceiling fans help with keeping the gym at a controlled temperature and all the lights work to make it much easier for all the athletes to see.

“It seemed a lot smaller before because the walls were darker, but now it’s so much brighter and so much more energetic,” said Clemens.

The volleyball team only has to share its locker room with one other sport and the team rooms allow for a great place to meet before taking the floor. And the big advantage is they can now set up two nets for practice.

“I love how we can now have two courts for practice, so JV and varsity can practice side by side,” said Merrill. “It’s nice to have a great facility like this.”

With it being the first official match in the gym, the players wanted to do something special. So they organized a black out, urging fans to wear all black for the history making night.

“We just wanted to do something creative for our first home game to kick off the new gym,” said Thompson.

And while the Cougars would have loved to win the first match in their new home, they are confident it will come soon. The program is on the rise and with a nice new facility to use, the interest should only continue to grow.

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.