By Adam Turer, firstname.lastname@example.org / Photo by Geoff Blankenship
That's the mission for Oak Hills High School's volleyball team this season. Last year, the Highlanders started hot, but faded down the stretch. Oak Hills dropped six of its final seven regular season matches and bowed out in the second round of postseason play, finishing 14-10.
This year, the Highlanders struggled out of the gates, dropping three of their first four matches. But that could be a good thing, as the team hopes to peak in October this year, rather than in August or September.
"I was surprised, not in a good way, at how we played the first half of the season. We were playing really flat and unsure of ourselves," said coach Jenny Meyer. "We had a pretty good summer and preseason, and then when season began we were not playing with confidence. In the last week or so the attitude has changed and we are just starting to play to our ability."
Oak Hills has opened Greater Miami Conference play a perfect 5-0. October brings bigger challenges. Starting with a Sept. 29 match against No. 10 Lakota West, the Highlanders close out the regular season by facing six teams currently ranked in the top 10 of the Division I coaches' poll.
"This year we have an even tougher schedule at the end of the year to prepare us for tournament," said Meyer. "We have upped the intensity in practice to prepare for the tough matches at the end of the season and to make a run in the tournament. We are looking to finish stronger down the stretch this year."
To handle the grueling schedule, which includes three ranked GMC foes as well as three ranked non-conference opponents, the Highlanders will have to play their best volleyball. So far, they appear to be on their way. Senior middle blocker Erica Wessel is playing the best volleyball that Meyer has seen her play. Fellow seniors Kylee Howard, Rachael Drewes, and Emily Hetrick have been dependable and consistent. If Chelsea Davis can return from a concussion, it will provide a boost for the team down the stretch.
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