Serve, Set, Spike

Serve, Set, Spike.

While Stratford’s varsity volleyball program is in just its fourth year, this year the program added a middle school team.

Ms. Rachel Chabot, the Upper School French teacher and head volleyball coach, brought the new middle school sport into action in order to develop future players for the varsity squad.

“As the varsity and j.v. program began to grow we needed to get younger girls interested in the sport in order for the varsity program to continue to grow,” Chabot said.  “With the addition of the program we have a large number of girls that will begin to know and love volleyball at a young age.”

The new team’s coach, middle school teacher Ms. Melissa Toole, said the team already has attracted higher numbers than expected for its first year.

“Huge interest has risen since 19 current middle school students joined the team when we only expected enough for one team,” Toole said.  “Long term it will have a great effect on the varsity level. When the girls get this interested in a sport at such a young age it allows them to stick with it for up to seven years.”

So far this season the middle school team is 2-3, including an early victory against St. George’s Episcopal School. middle school volleyball

Kaitlyn Neel, a 6th grader and middle school volleyball captain, said she decided to play volleyball because she had “a real passion for the sport, and I plan to play volleyball when I get to high school.”

“My favorite thing about the volleyball team this year is playing the sport with all my friends,” Neel said.

Current varsity player Mackenzie Conn also is excited about what the new squad will do for the program.

“The middle school team is a great addition to Stratford because the varsity will gain more experienced players who won’t have to spend as much time going over basics. Since they will already know how to play, we won’t have to find a competitive edge. We will already have one,” said Conn, a junior.

Chabot and Toole are pleased with the team’s progress so far.

“This addition has been a huge success. The girls have won several games, and I have received lots of positive feedback from parents,” Chabot said.

Editor’s note — the reporter played on the varsity volleyball team last year.