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Prep Volleyball Notepad: Wolverines starting to come together
Losing players to graduation can hurt any team, but North Stafford’s volleyball team was hit particularly hard this year.
The Wolverines graduated eight players from a squad that won the Commonwealth District regular-season and tournament titles last year.
This year’s squad is in the middle of the pack in the district with a 7–7 record (11–7 overall).
Despite having lost so many key contributors, North Stafford first-year head coach Emily Dudenhefer—who was an assistant last year—said this team is starting to come into its own.
“We’re starting to trust each other and communicate better,” she said. “We’re being smarter and learning to finish it out.”
Dudenhefer said the team’s three returning seniors—Tiffany Barrett, Christine Jackson and Abby Rosa—and junior Alexandra Sosik all know the game well and have been key to the team’s play this year.
“We have a large amount of talent,” she said. “It was just a matter of getting all the cogs working together.”
Sophomore Ebonie Hicks, who made the switch from middle hitter to setter, has also been important to the team’s unity.
“She really takes command of the floor,” Dudenhefer said. “She’s the heart of the team. If the ball is anywhere close to her, she going to get a piece of it.”
The Wolverines have a key match coming up on Thursday when they entertain second-place Colonial Forge. The Eagles won the teams’ first meeting in three games, but Dudenhefer was not there due to her 14-month old son being in the ICU.
The coach missed three weeks of the season while he recovered and credited her assistant coaches, including Kim Glassie, for keeping the team on track during that time.
“It was a tough time, but all the coaches, and the team, gave me great support,” Dudenhefer said.
As for Thursday’s match, the coach said it will be a good gauge to see where the team is now.
“We play in a great district,” she said. “There are no easy games where you can take a break. Thursday should be a good test to see how the rest of the season might go.”