DuBOIS — The DuBois Central Catholic Lady Cardinals volleyball program will have plenty of players this year as they look to get back on track with a new head coach that’s no stranger to the DCC program.
Liz Snell takes over with assistant coach Grace Polohonki, junior varsity coach Kristy Morgan and volunteer coaches Emily Youngdahl and Carlie Gritzer.
“We’ve had great interest in the program this year,” Snell said. “We have a total of 30 student athletes on our team.”
Snell said the team has been working hard these past few weeks prepping for the season.
“Our main goals have been sharpening our skills and increasing our knowledge of the game as we implement a new system,” Snell said. “I have challenged the girls to push themselves both mentally and physically and I am very pleased with their efforts.”
With a small senior class of three, the team will be looking to one of them in particular in helping guide the way — Madison Hoyt.
“Madison Hoyt is not only a six rotation player for us and a strong workhorse for our offense, but is our team leader,” Snell said. “The other student athletes look to her on and off the court.”
One of the other players that has impressed Snell and the staff so far includes freshman Kali Franklin.
“(Franklin) has impressed us with her skills, her hustle and her determination in the back row,” Snell said. “She will definitely play a key role in our defense this year.”
While those two figure to play a prominent role, Snell said you can make a case for each one of the ladies on the team when it comes to their efforts and hard work. Because of that, Snell and the staff feel the Lady Cardinals can accomplish quite a bit this season.
“My expectations for this season are high,” Snell said. “I feel if I expect great things from my student athletes they’ll demand great things of themselves. If at the end of the season, I can get my team to buy into my mindset and dig deep to push themselves as well as each other, I will consider it a success.”
With the Lady Cardinals’ determination and athleticism as two of the team’s strengths, Snell said that should help one of the weaknesses heading into the year — as they haven’t had a lot of time to learn and implement the new system.
“We have thrown a lot of new things at this team and while they are doing well with it all, they still have only had about a week with this new system,” Snell said. “It will definitely be a learning and growing year for our program but I believe my athletes are up for the challenge.”
Snell is honored in being able to coach at her alma mater and she is not only thankful for the opportunity and this year’s turnout, but it’s been a rewarding challenge thus far.
“I’ve really enjoyed getting to know my team,” Snell said. “I have a great group of athletes and it has been rewarding watching them develop even in just these few weeks. I will say, it has been overwhelming with the amount of students that came out for the team. It’s important to me to take time with each of them and to help everyone develop individually as well as as a team which has been very difficult considering our numbers. But I have assembled a great group of coaches who share my love of the sport that have made this endeavor much more manageable. What I do love is the chance to share my love of the sport with so many. Any time I’m on the court, be it playing or coaching, I’m a happy camper.”
The Lady Cardinals open up the season Tuesday as they travel to Union.
Seniors: Madison Hoyt, Savanah Morelli, Morgan Tyler. Juniors: Faith Jacob, Alyssa Johnston, Sophie Mangiantini, Megan Pittsley, Jackie Reilly, Sophia Rooney, Rose Whipple. Sophomores: Lexi Berta, Cece Blasdell, Sara Boland, Jessy Frank, Braylee Lukehart, Melia Mitskavich, Lydia Morgan, Reagan Porter, Kayley Risser, Haley Semancik, Ava Sorek, Kourtney Zatsick. Freshmen: Emma Elensky, Marina Hanes, Hope Jacob, Kali Franklin, Aurea Slimak, Zoie Smith, Megan Whipple, Alyssa Yanek.