Pat Smith, the Herndon High girls’ volleyball coach, could not be more pleased with what she has this season in senior team co-captains Steph Drahozal and Kelly Madden. Both middle hitters play the game well and with all-out hustle, and both serve as positive, encouraging leaders to their teammates as well.
“Neither is the least bit arrogant or condescending,” said Smith, of the duo chosen co-captains by team members. “I think their teammates respect them.”
Coach Smith makes it a point to commend all of her team members with playing the game the right way and with good sportsmanship. She indicated her co-captains are an extension of their teammates in their attitude and play.
“This is a team that gets along very well and that’s a feather in [the captains’] cap,” said Smith.
Both Drahozal and Madden are third year varsity team members and were part of a successful Herndon squad that went 18-5 and reached the Northern Region semifinals last year. Drahozal earned Second Team All-Concorde District honors in 2008.
Madden began this season as an outside hitter before coach Smith elected to move her to a middle hitter position.
The two athletes have played key roles in Herndon’s solid play this fall. Although the Hornets are not experiencing the same success as last year, they still have a solid team and a talented group of players. Going into this week, Smith’s squad sported a 6-5 record.
“They both are good hitters and they both play all around,” said Smith, of her two captains. “They are good passers, servers and attackers.”
In a different form of volleyball last month, Drahozal and Madden teamed up to compete at the Mayor’s Cup sand volleyball tournament in Rehoboth Beach in Delaware on Sept. 19. In the two-on-two, round robin format, the twosome captured the Junior Girls’ doubles title. Despite being classified as a Junior Girls’ division tourney, it was actually a pair of guys the two Hornet girls defeated in the finals.
Smith said the sun was shining for the outdoor competition, but that windy conditions added a different challenge for her girls at the Cup.
“Sand volleyball is a little different,” said Smith, who was on-hand to watch her two players compete at the Mayor’s Cup event. “You’re playing and running in the sand and in windy conditions.”
<b>AS A TEAM</b>, Herndon has played well throughout the season. It’s losses, for the most part, have been close. Wins this season have come over Broad Run, Woodson, Edison, Hayfield, Westfield and Wakefield. The losses have come to Heritage High, Stone Bridge, South County, Langley and Flint Hill.
“They’ve competed well against most of the teams,” said Smith, of her team.
Opponents realize they have to contend against two talented players in Drahozal and Madden when they go up against the Hornets.
“They have been identified as players to watch,” said Smith. “They are two of our top kill producers and better passers.”
The two, during the offseason, play for the same Loudoun County team within the Northern Virginia Volleyball Association.
Herndon was scheduled to play a pair of home matches this week against Fairfax on Tuesday and Oakton this Friday.
Members of this year’s Herndon High team, along with Drahozal and Madden, are: junior setter Emma Broderick, junior outside hitter Mia Chernick, senior setter Kelsey Deford, sophomore setter/middle blocker Courtney Guengerich, senior outside hitter Jasmine Johnson, senior outside hitter/opposite Yasmin Oliveira, junior middle blocker/opposite Mariah Savage, junior defensive specialist Stephanie Sequeira, junior setter Hannah Smagh and senior middle blocker Hannah Vick.