Last year was a breakthrough for St. Elizabeth’s volleyball program, as the Vikings returned to the postseason following a disappointing 2016 campaign. Officially, the team went 6-8, although an additional win was erased late in the season.
The Vikings hope the good vibes continue this year under second-year coach Jerry McCarthy. They are a very good team that finds itself in an extremely competitive conference. Last year, they went 6-2 against nonconference competition, and a goal is to pick up a victory in the Catholic Conference.
“We’re the ones who are the underdogs, so that gives us an advantage. (Opponents) are not going to know what to expect, and we’re going to give them all we have,” she said.
It’s a veteran roster, with five seniors and five juniors, but some are new to the varsity level, senior hitter Ardavia Lee said. She will have help up front from seniors Kylee Bowen and Clara Newswanger, while the other seniors, Mary Nottingham and Kelley Osborne provide defense on the back line. One freshman has made the varsity, and the team welcomed in a transfer.
McCarthy said he has found the players have welcomed him and have shown a willingness to learn his style of volleyball.
“They want to work hard. They’re willing to put the sweat and a little bit of blood on the court,” he said. “I think our keys are to serve aggressively and really just focus on basic skills. If we can keep our skill level high and our mistakes low, then I think we’ll have a very good season.”
It all starts on Saturday afternoon on the road at MOT Charter, and the Vikings will be tested once again. Aside from home-and-home sets with Padua, Ursuline and St. Mark’s, four of their nine nonconference matches are against playoff teams from last year. Two other opponents were in the tournament hunt. McCarthy said they want that type of challenge.
“The girls know it’s a very aggressive schedule, and they feel it will prepare them for the state tournament,” he said.
Lee is ready for a successful senior campaign. “I think we’re going to win a lot of games, do good, play hard. We’re hoping for the playoffs, go farther than we did last year.”
Home matches in CAPS
Sept. 11, 6:45 p.m.: ARCHMERE
Sept. 12, 5 p.m.: at St. Georges
Sept. 17, 7:15 p.m.: URSULINE
Sept. 20, 7:15 p.m.: ST. MARK’S
Sept. 25, 7:15 p.m.: PADUA
Sept. 27, 6:45 p.m.: WILMINGTON CHRISTIAN
Oct. 4, 7:15 p.m.: at St. Mark’s
Oct. 8, 6:45 p.m.: CARAVEL
Oct. 10, 6:45 p.m.: HODGSON
Oct. 16, 7:15 p.m.: at Padua
Oct. 19, 6:45 p.m.: at Appoquinimink
Oct. 22, 5:15 p.m.: at First State Military Academy
Oct. 26, 6:45 p.m.: at Newark