Already, this has been a season of improvement for the South Lakes High girls’ volleyball team. The Seahawks, at 3-6 following their first nine matches, have surpassed last year’s win total when South Lakes went 2-10 for the fall season.
"The team is definitely much better this year, said South Lakes coach Cheri Hostetler. "They are hitting the ball much better."
The coach said team members played in leagues during the offseason, resulting in overall improvements to their games. On top of that, this year’s South Lakes squad, made up of nine seniors, has good experience.
South Lakes’ wins thus far have come in non-Liberty District matches versus Mount Vernon, Falls Church and Washington-Lee High Schools. The road has gotten tougher since the start of district play, but the Seahawks are continuing to work hard on their game. Some of the team’s tougher non-district opponents of late have included unbeaten local rival Herndon as well as talented West Springfield.
"We’ve had some tough teams lately," said Hostetler. "You play teams like that; they are some of the best teams in the region. And we have a tough district [as well]."
South Lakes is receiving stellar seasons from junior middle hitter Stephanie Heimburg and senior middle hitter Erna Kukic. Both of the key players are over six feet in height. Heimburg, a third-year varsity player, leads the Seahawks in kills and is one of the team’s better servers.
"They are both intimidating," said Hostetler, of the duo.
Senior team captains Carlyn Scott, an outside hitter who leads South Lakes in serving aces, and setter Lena Derizemlya are also having solid seasons.
The five-foot-11 Scott is a leader both vocally and by the way she plays the game.
"She just gives it her all," said Hostetler. "She plays on the back row and is very aggressive. She’s really a great kid and is always motivating everyone else."
Derizemlya is an excellent passer and finds ways to get her teammates involved in the action.
"She can recover bad passes and is a great passer," said her coach.
Hostetler loves her team’s attitude and determination to play hard and continue to improve.
"They are good kids and are working hard," said Hostetler. "I think they’ll get some wins. They are a very coachable group. They are great kids and I’m real happy with them."
<b>SOUTH LAKES</b> will host non-district opponent Yorktown on Tuesday, Oct. 14 for a special Dig Pink Fund-raiser match. Dig Pink is an event supported by college and high school volleyball coaches and teams committed to supporting the goals of the Side-Out Foundation. The Seahawks-Patriots match will promote breast cancer education by encouraging players and fans to wear pink t-shirts, by distributing educational material, collecting donations, and focusing on how individuals can help breast cancer awareness month.
The South Lakes-Yorktown meeting will be the Seahawks’ next home competition. Prior to that, South Lakes is scheduled to play road matches at W.T. Woodson (this Thursday), Wakefield (Monday, Oct. 6) and Stone Bridge (Tuesday, Oct. 7). The Woodson and Stone Bridge matchups are Liberty District competitions.