By all accounts, the 2020 season was a success for the Powell High School JV volleyball team. The Panthers showed significant improvement throughout the season and finished the year 12-4, with two of …
By all accounts, the 2020 season was a success for the Powell High School JV volleyball team. The Panthers showed significant improvement throughout the season and finished the year 12-4, with two of the losses coming to varsity opponents.
Early on, the team’s main focuses were putting girls at the right positions and developing a couple of lineups that work best. Once they figured those things out, every aspect of the team improved, stemming from communication, passing, defense and more.
“We talked a lot about playing with no regrets and leaving it all out on the court,” JV coach Chelsi Graham said. “They did an amazing job at giving 100% out on the court.”
Some of the girls’ on-court strengths included blocking, back-row attacking and hitting aggressively while playing smart, Graham said. It was the team’s bond that allowed for this efficient play.
“Another strength of our whole team was the friendship and support they showed each other on and off the court,” Graham said. “The girls were also great about not giving up even when we were down.”
There were several standouts on the JV squad.
Megan Jacobsen and Sydney Spomer “did a great job at being aggressive in their back row and front row attacks,” the coach said. Rotating between outside and right-side hitting positions, Meagan Good and Mikayla Graham “did an awesome job at playing their best and being dependable hitters in whatever position they were put in,” added the coach.
Leading the block were Maddie Argento and Sarah Dunkerley, who “did an excellent job playing the net.” Coach Graham described Beth Brazelton as the team’s “defensive queen,” saying “she always did her best going for any ball that was in her area on the court.” And Kenna Czirr was another key defender, “going in the back row for any player that needed a break,” the coach said.
Powell’s setters — Anna Bartholomew and Gretel Opps — were crucial, as “they could set any ball that came their way,” Graham said.
The Panthers also had three freshmen come up midway through the season to serve as subs: Waycee Harvey, Stevee Walsh and Brynn Hillman. “They were able to fill in and play their best whenever we needed them,” coach Graham said.
A few of the team’s best moments included beating Cody in the Panther Gym, playing competitive volleyball against an opposing varsity squad and “watching the lightbulb come on” when something finally clicked, the coach recounted.
Graham also treasured seeing her girls enjoy the sport and meshing well with one another.
“Watching these girls whoop and holler, laugh and cheer when a teammate did something awesome,” Graham said.
Some of these girls will make the jump to the varsity level come 2021, and Graham doesn’t see that leap being too difficult for this group.
“They’ve put a lot of extra time in during the offseason and during the season and are ready for varsity,” Graham said. “They have a love for the game and a determination and a competitive spirit that is going to help them go far.”