One might take a glance at Saint Mark’s regular-season record last year in volleyball and believe the Spartans were an average team. That would be a mistake; their 8-7 record was not indicative of how good that team was. Saint Mark’s reached the quarterfinals of the state tournament, and a trip at least that far in 2019 is a distinct possibility.
First-team all-state player Savannah Seemans leads the Spartans. She is a threat as a hitter, but her contributions come from every spot on the court. She’ll get offensive support from classmate Abby Thibodeau and junior Caroline Detrick. Alyssa Berggrun is a standout libero, and Samantha Gerhart adds stellar defense as well.
The Spartans are OK if they fly under the radar, Berggrun said.
“It can be frustrating at times,” she said, “but I know we’re a really good team. We come together, we talk about things, and we get through it together.”
As usual, Saint Mark’s does not have any nights off. Their schedule is loaded with tournament-capable teams. Aside from the other Catholic Conference squads, the Spartans’ slate includes St. Georges, Smyrna, Archmere, Wilmington Charter and Appoquinimink at home, and Friends, Delaware Military, Red Lion and Mount Pleasant on the road.
“I think it’s good playing those tough teams because it gives us a different competitiveness,” Berggrun said.
And the Spartans love their home court, where they play three of their first four matches, Seemans said.
“It definitely gives us an advantage. When teams come in, and our student section is riled up, and they’re getting into the game, I think that really gets into the other teams’ heads, and that really helps,” she said.
Saint Mark’s is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and Seemans said she has noticed a lot of “good energy” around the campus through the summer. She would love for the volleyball team to add to that.
“Hopefully, we can bring home a state championship and be a part of it and make it a special 50th anniversary,” she said.
For extra motivation, the players need only look up at the gymnasium walls, where the school’s 10 state championship banners hang.
“Every time we look up there, we see an empty spot, and we say, ‘That’s going to be our spot next year,’” Seemans said. “It pushes us. Under Nancy (coach Nancy Griskowitz) and (former Spartans standout and current assistant coach) Peyton (Reno), they definitely want us to keep that legacy going. It’s inspiring.”
Home matches in CAPS
Sept. 10, 5:30 p.m.: Friends
Sept. 13, 7:15 p.m.: SMYRNA
Sept. 17, 7:15 p.m.: PADUA
Sept. 19, 7:15 p.m.: St. Elizabeth
Sept. 24, 7:15 p.m.: ARCHMERE
Sept. 26, 7:15 p.m.: Ursuline
Oct. 1, 6:15 p.m.: Delaware Military
Oct. 3, 7:15 p.m.: ST. ELIZABETH
Oct. 8, 5:15 p.m.: Red Lion
Oct. 10, 7:15 p.m.: WILMINGTON CHARTER
Oct. 14, 4:45 p.m.: Mount Pleasant
Oct. 17, 7:15 p.m.: APPOQUINIMINK
Oct. 22, 7:15 p.m.: Padua
Oct. 26, 7:15 p.m.: URSULINE