Last year didn't exactly go according to plan for the Morristown High School girls volleyball team.
The Lady Colonials finished with a record of 10-14, but have worked extremely hard in the off-season to ensure they don't find themselves in another hole this time around.
Despite losing a big presence in graduated Caitlin Horan, the volleyball team boasts a slew of young returning players, including talented juniors Mary Long and Jen Donlin, who have been with the team since their freshman year.
"They are still young in age but they have the experience that counts, experience on the court," said head coach Ron Davenport. "We're a whole new team this year and it's going to show on the court. We're a junior-heavy team, but our juniors have experience beyond their age."
Last Season: The 2010 varsity team finished with a record of 10-14.
Look Out For: Mary Long, Outside Hitter (Jr.) – Long is a well-rounded player, returning as a starter. According to Davenport, Long is "the best player in the county" and he stands strong behind his statement, proud of how far she has come at such a young age.
Jen Donlin, Versatile (Jr.) – Donlin, a versatile athlete in general keeps herself busy all year playing various sports. On the court she can play whatever position she is told, which can be a headache for any team trying to figure out the team's strategy.
Bradley Taylor, Setter (Jr.) – Moved from Libero, Taylor held the school record for most digs, so moving her was a gamble. Davenport feels confident that it was the best move. She knows all of her players well enough to set them up according to their strengths. "She gets to more balls than any setter we've ever had," the coach said.
Jen Remeler, Middle (Jr.) – When she's on she can bring a whole new dynamic to the offense. Defensively, she can set the tempo.
Judie Erichete, Outside (Fr.) – Only a freshman, Erichete earns a starting spot on the Colonial roster and looks to make an impact this season.
Who's Gone: Caitlin Horan, Emily McCachren, Christina Petrie, Kelly Klingman, Collen Kelly.
Coach's Take: "We will be a dramatically different team this year. We are a much stronger defensive team. We're going to be aggressive and come right at you. It's like coaching a different team." –Davenport
They Said It: "This team is probably the hardest working team I've been on ... We've been working hard since June." –Jen Donlin
"Last year we were still trying to get used to each other but this summer we've built really good chemistry. We bonded all summer and now we're at a point that we know moves that our teammates are going to make before they make them." –Bradley Taylor
Up Next: The girls are excited to face all teams this year in order to demonstrate how far they have come. They will focus their attention first on Mendham, as they are set to face-off against them on Friday, Sept. 9.