The Charger volleyball team begins its quest to defend a state championship Saturday in the Amy Schutter Memorial Tournament.
The Charger interviewed head coach Tracy Capoun and seniors Jordan Magette and Maddy Wertzberger about the season.
How are you feeling about the season so far?
Magette: “We feel good but we’re scared because we don’t want it taken away.”
Capoun: “We talked today about how our goal today is to end the season on top obviously, that’s what every high school team wants to do. But in reality our biggest goal this year is to be able to play and to try to eliminate any sickness or anything that could possibly take the season away. So our goal is to just play.”
What challenges have you had to face so far because of Covid?
Magette: “We’ve already had three people who’ve had to quarantine so they’re missed some practices and so it’s really hard not having the whole team there together. So we’re going to have to persevere and do what’s best for the team.”
Capoun: “Obviously the discomfort of masks and the cleaning and the temperature and all those protocols are tough. I’d say the toughest thing as far as a coach has been trying to figure out positions and who you’re going to play with and how you’re going to play and getting ready for an actual game when you have missing players. I think we’re going to have to continue with that throughout the season and that’s what I’ve told all the girls, that they’re going to need to be ready to play any position with any group of players. They’ve just got to step up as much as they can to be leaders from freshman up to seniors, because we don’t know what the season is going to bring from our own team quarantining or other teams that have to cancel. It’s going to have to be a flexible year.”
What are some of the teams biggest strengths or weaknesses so far?
Capoun: “We have the confidence coming off the championship last year and second the year before and lots of returning starters. So that confidence always helps in any sport and those same varsity players have joined in the leader roles over the years as well.”
Who do you think some of the key players are going to be this year?
Capoun: “Talking about the last few years we’ve had four players who have pretty much played varsity and in reserve in those championship years. We’ll definitely be looking for our two seniors Maddy Wertzebergers and Jordan Magette who have both played multiple positions throughout high school and Kara as one of our lead setters last year. Lauren Schutter and Maddy both had honors last year, state recognition and the Mid East league recognition. Having said that those four players we’ll be looking at the leadership qualities and playing abilities, everyone has got to step up and be a role player this year. Who knows what the year is going to be like.”
What do you think some of the newer, younger players are going to bring to the table this year?
Capoun: “We have a very large group of freshmen and I have been pleasantly surprised.”
Magette: “They’re doing amazing.”
Wertzberger: “They’re doing better than in the past years.”
Capoun: “You can tell that they have worked not just during the season but also outside of it and lots of them played club ball and summer ball. I think I told them during the first practice this summer that we’re not just looking at this year, we’re also looking at the next four years being on the winning side.”
For Maddy and Jordan, what kind of things have you had to step up and change now that you are seniors?
Magette: “We’ve had to make a lot more decisions than we’ve had in the past planning things and getting money around. Also getting everyone to yoga and weights and getting practices planned out around everyone’s schedules and keeping everyone motivated.”
Maddy: “During the summer when we couldn’t rely on the coaches to do everything for us we had to step up and have everyone do everything together.”
Capoun: “At the beginning of the year when we weren’t allowed to have practices or weights or anything, these two girls really stepped up and became communicators with the rest of the team. There were rules you had to follow and we weren’t allowed to coach at that time but these two really stepped up and coached. They organized a yoga program for the entire summer when they couldn’t do weights in June and they continued that until almost August.”
What else are you looking forward to in your senior season?
Magette: “I’m looking forward to playing a big role in leadership in our team. We’ve had lots of seniors and upperclassmen in the past so we haven’t had to step up and take on that role like we have to this year with me and Maddy as seniors and four or five juniors coming up. We have less upperclassmen than we have in the past so that will be exciting.”
What big events or games are you guys looking forward to this season?
Capoun: “State is always a big one. But another one on my list, and we were almost there last year, is just the Mid East league. It’s always tough, sometimes even tougher than state because we have a lot of powerhouses who have gone the distance and also won the championships at state level. I always look forward to those Mid East league games and going back to the seniors and what they’re looking out for this season. I feel like I always enjoy my upperclassmen. I think that camaraderie and respect and being open and willing to help each other are some great treats about our upperclassmen. I’m excited to have all our juniors and seniors back because I think that they are willing to be very coachable and very good leaders.