Captain’s Corner: Girls volleyball, Schmidt, Lehrer, Murphy

Jake Eisenberg, Sports Editor

Jake Eisenberg: Hey girls, thanks for taking time out of your practice today, pleasure to have you here.

Megan Murphy: Thanks!

Emily Schmidt: I’m excited; this is going to be fun.

JE: So let’s get down to business.  How has the season gone so far, especially after the losses of graduates Nicole Frocarro, Hayley Kerr, Bethia Kwak and others?

Tori Lehrer: Despite the losses, I think the team will be really strong this year because a lot more of the girls are involved with club teams outside of school.  Also, the younger girls on the team have shown a lot of potential and are playing really well.

ES: Our record is already better than last year’s.  We’re currently 2-2.

JE: Now, I was at your game on Sept. 25 against MacArthur, and I noticed the new uniforms.  How have those impacted your play?

MM: The team was really excited about the new uniforms and it’s kind of cool to be the first ones to wear them.  Unfortunately, they are a little small and slightly restricting in the arms, so I have to stretch them out before each game.  But, despite that, they do look really cool, and it was nice to get rid of the weird collar thing on the front of the old ones.

JE: How has your new coach, Mr.  Brian Patterson, impacted your team thus far?

ES: For one thing, Coach Patterson can actually spike the ball and doesn’t need to stand on a chair.

But in all seriousness, Coach Patterson I think is more technical, while Mr. Sutz is motivational and inspirational, which are two invaluable things considering that a huge component of volleyball is your mental game.  They’re a dynamic duo of sorts.

TL: He has been playing volleyball for most of his life and has trained with players of a really high caliber.  He really knows what he’s talking about and helps us improve in all areas of the court, which is really helpful.

MM: Especially when I’m a setter, Emily is mainly a hitter, and Tori is a libero.

JE: What is a libero? I’ve been hearing this word a lot.  And could you spell it please?

TL: A libero is a defensive specialist, usually one of the best passers on the team.  We substitute in for the middle players as soon as they get to the back row.  And the spelling? “L-I-B-E-R-O”: libero.

JE: Thank you Tori.  So, there are three captains on this team, one junior and two seniors, and, as we said before, you all play different positions.

How does that help your team improve, you three being able to take charge of your specific areas?

ES: I think that since we all are different positions, we can really help other girls.  I’m mainly a hitter and play back row too, but I don’t always know the best position to be in defensively when there’s a hit coming from the other side or how to read their shoulders to get in that position, and that’s something I can work on myself.  But, as a senior and a captain, if other girls have questions about hitting, such as when to start their approach to the ball or where they should be hitting, I can really help them, while Tori can help people in the back row.  And, of course, Megan can help people with setting because she knows where it should be for the hitters, like me.

JE: When the ball comes over the net, what is the ideal progression?

MM: Tori passes the ball, I set the ball, and then Emily spikes the ball and gets a kill, and then we win!

JE: So, basically, it’s a one-two-three punch?

MM: Yes.  In volleyball, you want to get a good pass to target, which is where a setter should be, a good set to where the hitter is going to approach, and a kill.  That’s basic volleyball strategy.

ES: And you want it to work quickly and effectively.  You don’t want to give the team a lot of time to react to what you’re doing.

JE: What kinds of things have you done together as a team, to further team chemistry and bonding?

TL: I think we have the best team chemistry.  This year is the best by far.  We have pasta parties before every home game and sit there crying from laughter.  Everyone loves each other.  I’d go even if there wasn’t pasta.

MM: If there is a problem on the court, it stays there.  It stays on the court and that’s it.  It doesn’t affect the day after or weeks to come, we just shake it off.

JE: If you could each describe this team in one word, what would it be?

MM: Enthusiastic.  We’re all really outgoing.

ES: Family.

TL: Hard working, and that speaks for itself on the court.

JE: I know last year the team cheered, “Bang, bang, reload” after a kill or an ace.  What’s the chant this year? Something new?

TL: Actually, for an ace last year, it was, “Ah, ace, you know!” This year we decided not to have any cheer because it’s not the cheers that bring the team together and gets us enthusiastic.  We think that every time, no matter if we get the point or not, if we all come in and just encourage and tap each other, as in a, “Good job, nice hit, we’ll get them this time” sort of thing, that helps us more as a team.

MM: You basically scream random stuff.

ES: Sometimes I’m not even speaking English on the court, and it’s mostly about the energy.  As soon as you don’t have it, in volleyball, you just start losing.

JE: Should we expect a lot of that indiscernible yelling during your next home game, on Oct.  11 against Massapequa?

ES: I think so.

TL: Yes, definitely a lot of yelling.