Bump, Set, Spike: Girls Volleyball Makes a Comeback!
Boosted spirit and morale leads to the team’s domination of the Lake Erie League
December 15, 2021
The Shaker Heights girls volleyball team has seen an impressive turnaround in the past two years. Going from a 5-17 record in 2019 to two consecutive undefeated seasons in the Lake Erie League, the team and community support has improved greatly.
With the end of this year’s winning fall season, the future of Shaker Heights volleyball is looking bright. One reason for the team’ success was the recent switch from the Greater Cleveland Conference to the Lake Erie League. “Not only has this switch changed the level of play for us, but has changed the energy in our gym,” junior Chloe Brown said.
This recent change in energy has also been the result of the community wide following. “This energy was brought by our amazing fans. They have a huge impact in the increase in confidence level in our girls and have made girls want to join our program,” Chloe Brown said. The additional supporters have boosted team confidence. “The increase of support from the community was kind of overwhelming, but through the crowd and the support, it gave me a sense of security to know that others believed so strongly in the team,” said junior Ayanna Brown.
A change in team culture and improved chemistry resulted in the program’s recent success. “I think in the past two years we have all grown closer to each other and formed this bond that translates on and off the court. This definitely led us to have better chemistry and play better as a team,” junior Allana Applebee said. “On the back of our practice shirts, they say ‘Unity is Strength.’ I feel like these past two years we’ve stopped playing as individuals but instead as one family,” said Chloe Brown.
Changes in coaching staff have also benefited the team greatly. “This past year we brought in a whole new coaching staff. This could have been really tough on us but we instantly made connections with our new coaches and brought a whole new culture into our gym,” said Chloe Brown. Denise Johnson, Shaker Volleyball coach, won Lake Erie League coach of the year.
Although the team is losing seven seniors following this season, the team is looking forward to seeing what they can accomplish. “I am very excited for next year’s season. Losing so many seniors will definitely affect us,” Applebee said, “but getting the chance to see new players that are coming in, and previous players who are improving fill the spots of the ones leaving will be great to watch.”