When the gymnasium at the year-old Ss. Peter and Paul High School in Easton, Md., was installed, volleyball lines were included even though the school did not sponsor a varsity program. That has changed, as the Sabres will take the court this year for the first time.
Patrick Tracy, the athletic director at Ss. Peter and Paul, said it started as a club sport in 2019.
“We just kind of wanted to gauge where we were,” he said. “We obviously have some parents and some student athletes at our school who are passionate about it.”
The addition of volleyball reflects growing interest in the sport on the Eastern Shore, he said. Anytime a school considers adding a sport, it needs to examine the level of popularity in its area. Apparently, there are lots of young volleyball players on the mid-Shore. “The timing was right. Our numbers are up from an enrollment standpoint.
It made perfect sense to add that,” he said.
Tracy and school leaders also had to consider the other girls sports played in the fall. They include field hockey, cross country and soccer. They were able to add volleyball without having a detrimental effect on the other sports.
The Sabres will play a 10-match schedule as members of the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference. They open play on the road Sept. 2 at the Key School. The home debut is Sept. 7 at 4 p.m. against Worcester Prep.
There are 12 girls on the roster, Tracy said, and the coach is Rebecca Burns. She is a former Division I college player who has been instrumental in the growth of the game on the club level in the Easton area, he added.
“She’s put together a tremendous program,” he said.
When the Sabres take the court, they will be doing so in a great environment, according to Tracy. The school gymnasium received its baptism last year during boys and girls basketball season. Tracy said everything worked as planned.
“I truly believe we have the nicest new gym on the Eastern Shore. It’s a great, great atmosphere to watch a game. It’s going to be really exciting in here,” he said.
Ss. Peter and Paul’s other fall sports are deep into preseason practice and ready to go, the athletic director said. The first home contest for one of the outdoor sports is a field hockey game scheduled for Sept. 7 at 4 p.m. against St. Mary’s.