0
Votes

Improvement at All Levels

Despite struggles, Lee volleyball toughs it out and makes improvements.

photo

Sophomore setter Crystal Ronan has been the Lee volleyball team’s most reliable server this season. Coach Rebecca Waters often counts on Ronan to start a match and stake the Lancers to a lead.

Different levels of advancement drive competition. If every player, coach or team was perfect, high school volleyball wouldn’t be all that entertaining. Nobody would hand over an easy point and each game would likely take more than the typical 90 minutes.

Sure, everyone would like to put up 26 kills per game and win each match, 3-0. But the reality of our world prevents that from happening.

The Lee volleyball team, a squad that’s been heavy on optimism this season but light on results, suffered yet another setback, dropping a 3-0 decision (25-9, 25-17, 25-13) at Chantilly on Monday night.

“It can be [a learning experience],” said Lancer coach Rebecca Waters, whose team finished 6-10 last season. “It’s really going to depend on what they get out of it.”

<b>IT ALL STARTS</b> at the beginning for the Lancers and hopefully with the volleyball in sophomore setter Crystal Ronan’s hands.

Ronan, with her forceful, arching and difficult-to-return jump serve, supplies Lee with its offensive kickstart.

Though Ronan logged just one ace against a talented Chantilly squad, Waters believes that a solid start from her top server will make a positive impact on her young team.

“She’s got a jump serve and it’s relatively consistent,” said Waters, whose team will host Wakefield Thursday night. “She’s the only one who has a really aggressive serve, and if we can start out with a lead, it sort of boosts their confidence.”

“When it goes over, it has so much top spin that it just kind of drops,” Ronan said. “So those are usually very hard to judge where they’re going.”

Also the team’s most talented setter, Ronan has compiled 65 assists so far this season with the bulk going to junior outside hitter Karina Bethea and senior middle blocker Courtney Fitzke, who has a team-high 23 kills.

Bethea, who has emerged as the team’s top defensive player with 46 digs, has totaled 17 kills on the season, excluding Monday night’s results.

<b>FELLOW SENIORS</b> Paige Wittmer and Sammi Lasley have played their supporting roles well. Wittmer has compiled 16 kills and 29 digs, while Lasley has totaled 13 kills and 41 digs.

While Waters may have several individual pieces to an eventual team puzzle, one that will become more manageable once Patriot District play starts on Sept. 24, those individual pieces have been exactly that. Lee still struggles with its alignment and rotation, something the first-year coach hopes will stop relatively soon.

“I’d like to see them getting the lineup down and knowing where they’re going without being confused,” Waters said. “They’ll have chemistry, they’ll be in rotation, they’ll know where they’re supposed to be and they’ll make quick decisions on their own."