SOUTHWEST ORANGE The varsity volleyball season came to an end for the coverage area last week in the Regional Quarterfinals of the Class 8A and Class 3A State Tournaments.
Both the Olympia Titans and the Windermere Prep Lakers, the two local teams to advance out of district play, fell in the first round of the playoffs. The Titans lost to Riverview in three sets and All Saints beat the Lakers in five.
Despite disappointment in the short term, both programs — which will graduate a combined three seniors this coming spring — are in remarkably good shape to build on what they put together.
“We’ve got a really good, young group,” Olympia coach Mitch Sadowsky said moments after his team’s season ended. “I’m pretty optimistic going into next year; we’re going to have a really solid group.”
For the Titans, who finished with a 21-7 record on the year, players such as freshman Mya Wilson, sophomores Johnna Shamley and Gabby Nye and junior Morgan Given are reasons for optimism. Olympia’s leader this fall was outgoing senior setter Lorissa King, and that leadership and her abilities as a setter will be hard to replace, but the Titans’ younger players stepped up throughout the season and gained valuable playing experience.
“As mature as they seem, when we sit back and look, there were only two returning starters from last year,” Sadowsky said.
If the Titans were young, though, it’s hard to say what that would make the Lakers. Windermere Prep boasted a roster that featured a seventh grader and two eighth graders — to pair with just one senior — and the Lakers (13-4) set a program record for wins and made the state playoffs for the first time.
“I mean I am very proud of them because they did work hard and … having such a young team, it was a challenge,” head coach Diego Serpa said.
Among Windermere Prep’s strongest players this fall were Peyton Warp, a sophomore, Riley Nowicki, a freshman and Isabella Teixeira, an eighth grader — so the future is plenty bright for Windermere Prep.
Both teams benefitted from midseason tournaments that enabled them to play well-regarded and unfamiliar opponents. Going forward, both coaches will hope to see their girls improve during their offseason roles with their club volleyball teams.
“It was a wonderful season for us … the reason they were so successful was because of the respect, the commitment and hard work,” Serpa said. “We are trying to build a very competitive program … next season we’re going to have more first’s and more excitement.”
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].