The Vikings enter the 2019 volleyball season with a mostly veteran lineup and an upward trajectory that began with the hiring of Jerry McCarthy as head coach a few seasons ago. Five seniors and three juniors anchor the team, which aims to get through the first round of the state tournament for the first time since 2008.
One of the seniors, Amanda Doherty, said the changes under McCarthy have made a huge difference.
“We started freshman year (under the previous coach) with a lot of talking, sitting. Jerry’s more about action. You can tell he’s focused on getting us better,” she said.
Her classmate, Kylee Bowen, agreed. “I think it’s been a lot more organized, and a lot more, position-wise, organized.”
But attitude and culture go only so far, especially in the Catholic Conference. St. Elizabeth is also talented. Senior Ashley Campbell will provide a weapon in the middle, and sophomore Reena Robinson could be a force on the outside.
Laura Jezyk, another sophomore, will be doing the setting, and junior Rachel Vivolo is a solid libero. Unfortunately, senior Kylee Mulrooney, who also sets, suffered a serious injury late in August and will miss the season.
The Vikings, as usual, will be tested during the regular season. They play Catholic powers Padua, Ursuline and Saint Mark’s twice each, and the nonconference schedule includes trips to Archmere and Caravel, along with home matches against St. Georges, and Cape Henlopen. The Vikings will not let the tough opponents get to them.
“Coach always tells us, ‘Do not go in there and let them look at you like they’re going to win. If we don’t win, put up a fight,’” Doherty said.
In fact, Bowen said, they welcome the challenge.
“It really helps us step up, too. We really need to step up to the competition and not play down. We know that they’re going to take advantage of us if we keep our heads down,” she said.
St. Elizabeth has been around .500 the last two seasons and has qualified for the state tournament. Doherty said they enjoy being recognized in the school.
“It was just fun to be there. It was fun to have our friends come and watch us, talk about it the next day at school, even though it wasn’t a win.”
Home matches in CAPS
Sept. 10, 6:15 p.m.: Archmere
Sept. 13, 7:15 p.m.: ST. GEORGES
Sept. 17, 7:15 p.m.: WILLIAM PENN
Sept. 19, 7:15 p.m.: SAINT MARK’S
Sept. 23, 5:30 p.m.: Wilmington Christian
Sept. 24, 7:15 p.m.: Padua
Oct. 1, 6:45 p.m.: CAPE HENLOPEN
Oct. 3, 7:15 p.m.: Saint Mark’s
Oct. 4, 5:30 p.m.: Hodgson
Oct. 7, 6:15 p.m.: Caravel
Oct. 10, 7:15 p.m.: PADUA
Oct. 14, 7:15 p.m.: Ursuline
Oct. 21, 5 p.m.: MOT CHARTER
Oct. 24, 7:15 p.m.: NEWARK