Women’s volleyball team prepares to defend state championship

With two state championships in a row increasing the pressure and key players from last season missing, the women’s volleyball head coach, Nabil Mardini, is as confident as ever in his team.

In the gym they practice three times a week during their offseason.

Returning player Danetta Boykin has high hopes for next semester.

“Next year I feel that it’s gonna be even better; I feel like we’re going to come back even stronger, we’re just going to bring the intensity even more,” she said.

Head coach Mardini is not stressed out over the new players meshing with the returning team.

“I’m very picky with my recruiting, so the players I’m bringing in are a good fit for the program,” said Mardini.

The new players aren’t the only focus; Mardini is fine-tuning the entire team.

“I think every position is going to be deep and the roster is not going to be like it was last year,” Mardini said. “Which means we are going to have a lot of competitive practices.”

Freshman Brittani Elser is a player to watch out for, and she already feels a part of the team.

“It’s a competitive environment but [the other players] are so helpful and it’s really welcoming coming in here and being able to play with them,” she said.

This is something Coach Mardini expects, his sophomores helping the freshmen.

“The returning players always do a good job in terms of communicating the culture of the gym, what we are all about and so forth,” Mardini said.

He is already proud of his team.

“They always work hard, and they play very, very well,” he said with a knowing smile.

They all agree that practices are hard but they know it will help them win again.

“I’m really excited for next season, the way we compete and practice is going to help us achieve that goal of winning again,” Elser said, “we’re going for the three-peat.”

Sophomore Danielle Hochman believes in her team but believes they will win for reasons more than just their talent.

“I’m really looking forward to how the season pans out,” she said, “We have a lot of good talent out here but not only that, we have the heart and the will to do it too.”