By David Wagner
Western Albemarle’s girls’ volleyball team looks poised to make another run at a Jefferson District Championship. Long time assistant coach Ron Pack has taken on head coaching duties for 2012.
Led by Seniors Maggie Kooken, Laura Bergin, Lauren Reifsteck and Marina Clark, the Warriors have picked up right where they left off last season. Reifsteck is the setter, stepping in to fill the vacancy left by graduate Riley Martin, who reigns as the all-time assists leader at Western. Clark takes over at libero for Marin Crowder, who also graduated.
In the first three matches of the season, the Warriors are 3-0 and have dropped only one set. They started off with back-to-back wins over R. E. Lee (25-11, 25-20, 25-18) and (25-15, 17-25, 25-15, 25-23). Next they hosted Fort Defiance and dispatched the Indians in straight sets (25-19, 25-20, 25-8). The Warriors have two more non-district matches (Fort Defiance and Albemarle) before the Jefferson District schedule gets under way Sept. 20 at Charlottesville High School.
Kooken is first in kills (31), second in digs (24), and third in blocks (7). Bergin is first in points (30), third in kills (12), and tied for third in digs (23). Reifsteck leads the team in assists with 65 playing setter while Clark leads the team in digs with 35. Maggie Spindel has a team high 11 blocks, is second in points (26), and second in kills (21). Devon Via is second in blocks (12), fourth in kills (11), and Ivy Morgan is third in points (18) and tied for third in digs (23). Abi Wagner has also contributed with 17 assists, which ranks second on the team.
JV Volleyball is also off to a quick start. Led by head coach Marti Pugh and assistant Mandy Snow (both former Warriors), the underclassmen are 3-0 as well, with two wins over R. E. Lee and one against Fort Defiance. The first match facing Lee took three sets to win, but the Warriors held on (25-8, 21-25, 15-10). Western won second match in straight sets (25-14, 25-22). The Lady Warriors carried their momentum into the Fort Defiance match, overpowering the Indians in an impressive 25-14, 25-12 victory.
JV sophomores Christian Blount (Co-Captain) and Tucker Nolke said the best surprise about the team has been the consistent play of freshman hitters Kelsey Grove, Elissa Simpson and Makayla Shifflett. Returning sophomores Kayley Pugh and Chandler Morgan (Co-Captain) have also played major roles in the victories.
If there’s one thing that Western volleyball does well, it’s replace talent. By the looks of these young players, Warrior volleyball should continue to thrive and that’s bad news for the rest of the District.