and Jason Winchell
St. Elizabeth second-year coach James Phillips is looking for continued progress for his Vikings. St. Elizabeth lost six seniors from last season’s 6-9 squad, so this team spent part of the summer searching for an identity.
“We don’t know what to expect from ourselves. We have a lot of new players on the team. We’re really trying to find an identity, and that’s going to take some time,” he said.
He has some talent returning, including senior all-confernce selections Karli Cathell (73 kills, 136 digs) and Elisa Hackendorn (61 kills, 84 digs). He is encouraged by the athleticism of sophomore Alexis Lee, who returns to the Vikings this season. Cathell said fans should look out for senior libero Morgan Zebley. No matter who is on the floor, fans will see an effort.
“They can expect us to play hard. The kids have a lot of heart. They don’t give up, they don’t quit,” Phillips said. “And they’re smart kids. They’re learning and they’re growing all the time. I think every opportunity we get to play, they’re going to get better.”
The first few weeks of preseason brought hope to Cathell. “We’ve seen a lot of improvement,” she said Sept. 4 during a play day at Archmere Academy. “The girls are working really hard, and we’re all trying to be a team and come together.”
According to Hackendorn, the Vikings are a close bunch “that’s filled with a bunch of girls who are loving and caring of each other on and off the court, and who work so, so hard to improve themselves not only in volleyball skills, but in life.”
Hackendorn said the energy among the players has been impressive. She said if her team puts forth a maximum effort each night, “that feels like a win to me.”
The schedule is a tough one. Aside from their Catholic opponents, the Vikings will be traveling to Caravel, Newark Charter and Archmere.
Saturday, Sept. 12: Caesar Rodney, 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 15: at Ursuline, 7:15 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 17: St. Thomas More, 6:45 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 23: St. Georges, 6:45 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 24: at St. Mark’s, 7:15 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 28: at Caravel, 6:45 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 3: at Padua, 1:15 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 5: Ursuline, 7:15 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 8: St. Mark’s, 7:15 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 10: at Newark Charter, 12:15 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 13: at Archmere, 6:15 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 15: Wilmington Christian, 5:45 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 19: at Conrad, 5 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 21: Padua, 7:15 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 26: at Delcastle, 5:15 p.m.