CLINTON TWP. — Lackawanna Trail’s girls volleyball team may be low in numbers, but first-year head coach Ashley Chuck is optimistic about the future of the program.
“We don’t have any seniors, so I’m really excited to work with the same group of girls for two years in a row,” Chuck said. “A lot of the younger girls have been stepping up to take over the varsity spots and are proving they’re ready. I’m excited to see more growth from them and I’m hopeful we’ll have a good outcome this season and next season.”
Juniors Monica Stuenzi, an outside/middle hitter, and libero Katelin Walton are the only returning starters.
Junior Danilyn Gardoski is expected to contribute as a hitter, sophomore Ashtyn Mecca will see time as a setter and middle blocker, and sophomore Abby Wilson will contribute as a setter and hitter.
Mecca believes the group’s familiarity with each other will be important as the team tries to improve upon last season’s 6-12 record.
“I feel like we’re working together really well in practice,” Mecca said. “Our teamwork is great because we know each other and we know how to play with each other.
“Our biggest goals are to push through the season as best we can and try to win as many games as we can.”
Juniors Jaedyn Arnold and Victoria Fiorini are also competing for a spot in the Lady Lions’ lineup.
“We still have one spot open and I’m not sure who is going to get it,” Chuck said. “They’re all working hard and it’s exciting to watch.”
Chuck, who served as the junior varsity coach the past two seasons, has a good rapport with all the players.
“I’ve coached all these girls since their first season,” she said. “It’s helpful because they know how I coach and I know how they play. It’s been a really easy transition.”
She has been encouraged by the energy during practices as well as the improvement shown on a daily basis.
“We’ve been conditioning them really hard and they don’t give up,” Chuck said. “We’ve been working a lot on fundamentals and the girls have been progressing nicely. We’re also stressing teamwork and I think we’ve been succeeding so far.”
While Chuck would like to see the team finish with at least a .500 record this season, she realizes it may take time for the young team to develop.
“I want to build off this year so we can get to where we want to be next year,” she said.
Chuck pegged Blue Ridge as the team expected to provide the toughest competition in Lackawanna League play.