It’s a new day at St. Elizabeth, with a new coach and new optimism surrounding the volleyball program. The Vikings won just one match in 2016, but it was only two seasons ago that they lost a five-setter in the first round of the state tournament. New coach Jerry McCarthy, who spent eight years as an assistant at Wilmington Friends, is bringing a fresh approach to Cedar Street.
“We’re just trying to instill a good mindset,” he said. “The girls have worked extremely hard embracing a new system. And the new system is simple stuff. All we’re going to do is play basic volleyball. The girls have embraced it, they’ve worked hard. They’ve learned that if they fail at that one point, it’s OK. It’s what they choose to do afterward.”
The new era for the Vikings gets its start tomorrow at home against MOT Charter at 1:45 p.m.
Senior Alexis Lee returns to anchor the Vikings’ front line. She is joined up front by her sister, junior Ardavia Lee, and classmate Erin Sammler. The Vikings also expect contributions from Amanda Doherty and Kelley Osbourne. Junior Shea Sweeney will be responsible for getting the ball to them as the setter.
Lee said the team has bought into McCarthy’s approach.
“Everything’s so different. He’s teaching us a new way to think, a new way to see the game. He’s really changing the game for us,” she said. “Last year was a complete mess. But we’re building on it so we can be a better team this year.”
Aside from six tough matches against their Catholic Conference sisters, the Vikings will meet some of the state’s strongest programs. Those include road trips to Archmere and Caravel and home tilts against St. Georges and Appoquinimink. McCarthy said a tournament berth is not out of the question, but progress will be measured in more than wins and losses.
“We’re going to see some wins in the book, for certain. But there’s going to be some games where last year they may have lost in three, and this year we want to push it to five and push it over that hill, be the winner after that fifth game,” he said.
“If we take care of the small things, the big things will fall into place.”
Lee was happy to get back to the St. E Center in mid-August after spending the summer playing club ball. There is something special she said, about playing for your school.
“It’s starting to feel like everything’s coming together for us,” she said.