The girls’ volleyball team cheers after winning the first set against Providence by a score of 25-18 on Wednesday, Sept. 15. Photo by Brock Kennedy.
Story by Zoe Nowling.
Junior Caroline Hilbrich spikes the ball over the net as teammates and coach Bart Powell cheer during a practice.
The girls’ volleyball team has a lot to be excited about as this season kicks off well, as they want to live up to the expectations set for them. They come to the middle of their season 12-9 and 3-1 in conference play.
“This year we are finally capable of winning sectionals. We have a chance at state this year — all we have to do is play our best every game and we will get there,” said senior Riley Chumbley.
The coaches have high expectations and so do the players for this season. They hope that success will be following them as they get further into the season and closer to sectionals and the tough competition.
Specifically, Hilbrich said that the team believes their work ethic will push them past sectionals and on to regionals.
FCVB is focused on winning matches and continuing to get the hard work in that they need to be conference champs and have a shot at a very deep state tournament run; to accomplish this, they must, as their coach says, “beat the game.”
“You have to score 25 points and you want to do that as efficiently as you can, I don’t like scoring points on other teams’ errors, I like scoring points on our successes,” said coach Bart Powell.
As this group goes into games that are not as important they are focused on playing their game and improving with each play they make on the court.
“Going into games that aren’t as important as we know, like if teams not as good as us, we work on things we need to work on like running plays and doing stuff that we haven’t perfected yet so that we can be a better team for the games that do matter,” said Hilbrich.
For this group, a positive mentality is another aspect of how they carry themselves but also play on the court and carry that energy into everything they do as a team.
“Our mentality, I would say we have a really good mentality right now, just keep working hard and you can’t earn anything if you don’t work hard for it, so keep working hard and then we will see a good outcome for it,” said Hilbrich.
Looking ahead is important. This season’s sectional is what is in the back of their mind, so they expect to have improved and hustled to get to where they want to be before that game both play and team-wise.
“I expect us to be in our prime. We are a very good team and can pass and hit the ball extremely well. Before sectionals I expect us to have our heads screwed on right and go into sectionals very confident,” said Chumbley.
The friendships and the competitiveness between each other on the team have helped this program and will continue to do so as they get further into the season and have higher-stakes games on their hands.
“It is improved a lot like this program, it makes it so much easier to be on the court with people you want to be on the court with, be with people you like to play with and have fun with,” said Hilbrich.
This process is why this team is continuing to improve this team and make more of a mark with each passing year. This process is driving the success this program has had in the past few years with many sectional appearances and conference wins.
“We have to have good connections with each other and also with our coaches because our coaches are also very important for the team, so if we have good connections with our coaches and teammates it will be a great season,” said Hilbrich.
Fitness both mentally and physically, on and off the court is important for success this season, and makes the difficult parts of the season easier to get through, and makes the athletes stronger individually and collectively.
“We do a lot of conditioning stuff; we did a lot during the summer, we did lots of running and stuff that can mentally put you down, but you have to push yourself through it cause it’s physically hard, but also mentally hard, so you have got to push through it; then it gets us mentally ready for the season,” said Hilbrich.
Floyd volleyball has been a program on the rise the last few years and has had some great teams and this year’s group is no different. They bring a hard work ethic to the competition they play in and that is a part of the program’s rise.
“We are a lot of fun to watch, we never give up, we work hard, we never let a ball drop without effort, we are very talkative and even the people in the stands are fun to cheer with and fun to watch, so it’s a fun game to watch,” said Hilbrich.
This program’s history inspires this group every time they take the court in a Floyd jersey, semi-state appearances, sectionals, and state appearances are something to look up for these ladies as they compete this season.
“We have a good history as a program like we have made it semi-state and state, so we know that we have a lot to look up to, and I think it motivates us to work hard and to live up to those expectations,” said Hilbrich.
This has led to another turning point not only skillset-wise but plays and practice-wise for this team. When the games, tournaments, and competition increasingly improves, they need to as well and that is a big part of this team’s operation on the court. The players are aware that this change needs to happen so they are making it now.
“We have experienced some big wins, but we’ve also gone through some very tough losses. We are working hard to make changes and soon you should see an FCVB team who is very good,”said junior Lauren Boehnlein.
The team is getting used to the competition they haven’t seen before or haven’t played in a while. These teams are other strong competitive teams that can match FCVB and show the team what is going to be expected of them to reach their high expectations.
“We used to play manual and then we didn’t play them for ten years then we got them back on the schedule, We play North Oldham at the end of the season and we haven’t played them as well,” said Powell.
This season is a turning point in this team’s skill set and how they play on the court. This potential has been seen by the players and coaches and those involved in the program. They are planning to show that this trend of improvement will not end with this squad.
“I believe that the turning point skill set wise is now. We went on a five-game losing streak to some of the best teams and we competed. I think we got tired of losing so we started being smarter with our skills,” said Chumbley.
FCVB wants to continue to push past obstacles on its way to sectionals and beyond. The coaches and players have emphasized practice the way you want to play, and for them, that means bringing that competitiveness against each other at practice.
“In practice, we work on being super competitive and vocally active. Players have to show up every day to practice to work hard and compete to make sure they earn a spot in the next game,” said Boehnlein. ”No spot on the court is ever guaranteed, especially this year with all the talent. Because of all the competitiveness in practice, this makes us even more competitive during games. It makes us go out on the court with a competitive mindset.”
Tough competition has shown this team not only what they are capable of, but it has also shown them how important it is to improve collectively and individually on a team that has high expectations for themselves.
“Playing good competition comes with tough losses sometimes. However, good competition and tough losses also come with lots of chances for us to learn and grow as a team,” said Boehnlein. “Competition has made us want to work harder and be more competitive with other teams. It has taught us to never get comfortable and that we have to work hard to get the result we want.”
The girls take on a big conference championship matchup tonight that is sure to be a competitive and hard-fought matchup for the championship of the HHC (Hoosier Hills conference). This program has a lot of expectations riding on this game.
“It will be a very physical game, physical in volleyball is a fast hard paced big swing match that’s the kind of match I see happening,” said Powell.
As they prepare for the second half of their season their work ethic is key.