Communication the key to Olympia volleyball success

The Titans are 12-2 overall so far this season and a perfect 3-0 in their district.

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The Olympia high school girls volleyball team has raced out to an 12-2 record to start its 2022 campaign.

Part of the team’s success has come as a result of the culture head volleyball coach Semei Tello has instilled in the team during his years with the Titans. 

“The culture I want to develop here is always the seniors leaving a legacy where our younger kids, and underclassmen, have something to strive for as long as they are here at Olympia,” Tello said. “So, a winning culture, for sure.”

Singing the school’s alma mater after the games is something Tello has also been trying to bring into the team’s culture. 

“(I’m working on) getting our student section involved,” he said. “We have a big group here called the Sixth Man Club that’s pretty awesome. That’s something that you don’t get in a club setting.” 

Outside and senior Abby Dickinson, 16, believes friendship off the court has helped the team win most of the games this season. 

“All the girls liking each other — it’s the biggest part,” she said. “We haven’t had any drama, and everyone always has each other’s backs. And even if you have a bad day, you can always count with the other people to help you.”

Leadership and mutual support is huge for the girls. Right side and senior Gabriella Armitage, 17, believes every player on the team is able to become a leader on the court. 

“We try to look up to leaders on the court,” she said. “Sometimes it can be different people every game, so you can look up to them and you know they’ll turn the ball or give you a good pass. (Also) just to always be encouraging, because no one makes mistakes on purpose, so knowing that if you make a mistake, you’ll do better next time but also, that your teammates have your back and are encouraging.”

Tello’s coaching style goes beyond the volleyball court lines and into the daily lives of his players. 

“I am more than a volleyball coach; I am a mentor, as well,” Tello said. “That’s something that, at least for me, it’s always been one of my bigger things (as a coach).”

Staying healthy and working on preventative procedures such as icing, stretching and warming up properly is something the girls have present every day they get to practice and when they are getting ready for a match.  

“Knock on wood, we are all relatively healthy, and I told them that would be key to our season — how long they can stay healthy for,” Tello said. “Right now, we are our biggest enemies. I truly believe anybody can beat anybody on any given day, but I think when we are clicking and playing together, nobody can really beat us.” 

For libero and senior Amanda Ford, 17, one of the hardships the girls have faced when on the court this season has been keeping a high level of energy during matches. 

“It is exhausting to play a high school varsity sport; it takes a lot of your time,” she said. “So (we need to) make sure that we put all our effort into it while we still can — especially the seniors.” 

The Titans defense has remained strong through the games the girls have played this season. According to Tello, the girls have been having four to five aces a match. 

When it comes to motivating teammates, outside and junior Laney Perdue, 16, brings her positive attitude to light. 

“When we are down by a lot, I help girls stay positive,” she said. “That’s a big thing also, with the underclassmen and next season, to show how they should act.” 

Because the girls play on club teams while high school season is off, an important aspect the team has been working on this season is chemistry and communication when on the court. 

“Volleyball-wise, they are pretty sound in fundamentals and all that,” Tello said. “It’s just getting the chemistry with one another.” 

The team has one goal in common, to make it to states — and hopefully win, while also working on having a better team for those who remain at school next year. 

The Titans will travel to East River for a non-district game at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15.  



Andrea Mujica

Staff writer Andrea Mujica covers sports, news and features. She holds both a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Central Florida. When she’s not on the sidelines, you can find Andrea coaching rowers at the Orlando Area Rowing Society in Windermere.

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