GROTON — The Groton-Dunstable girls volleyball team is still a work in progress and coach Lisa Lapierre hopes a more aggressive approach keeps the Lady Crusaders moving forward this season.
“Our strengths entering the season are that we are improved in being able to attack, our outside and middle hitters are stronger, I think we will be able to play more three-hit offense, and we are deep in setters,” said Lapierre. “Our goal is to play consistently and compete in all matches. We want to make the opponent’s task as difficult as possible. My concern is our lack of experience as we only have five returning players.”
As the season opener approaches, four Lady Crusaders have clinched starting berths — seniors Maeve Cusack and Jackie Ordemann, both captains, and juniors Ali Kessler and Meg McLean.
“Maeve is a setter who makes few mistakes and does everything right,” said Lapierre. “She is a leader who is very consistent. Jackie also is a strong leader who has a strong serve, experienced and is always hustling. Ali is a strong outside hitter and is a player whose excellent defense keeps points alive. Meg is an outside hitter who has switched from setter. She is athletic and versatile and she does a number of things well. She is a well-rounded player who is all over the court with her speed and hustle.”
Competing for the two starting middle hitter positions will be a trio of sophomores — Leanne Mueller, Shannon Spang and Alexa Busser.
“All three girls have good size and strength,” said Lapierre. “Their hitting is very close and they could be interchangeable. Picking two will be a difficult decision.”
Junior Hayley Pollard adds depth at outside hitter after moving up from the junior varsity team.
“Haley should see significant playing time,” said Lapierre. “She is a solid passer and communicates well.”
The remainder of the roster consists of setters — juniors Kate Stowell, Courtney Cain and Sydney Ward, and sophomore Riley Rogers.
“Kate is consistent, communicates well and always does the right thing,” said Lapierrre. “She will see significant time. Courtney is a setter/libero and is very strong defensively and passes well. Sydney is also a setter/libero and is a solid defensive play who always hustles. Riley is very athletic and has the versatility to play anywhere on the court. She will be our utility player.”
The team is hampered by the loss of junior middle hitter Anna Towle.
“We are hoping to get her back sometime this season,” said Lapierre.
“Our key to the season is for our inexperienced players to adjust to the varsity level,” said Lapierre. “This is a good group of girls to coach and our captains have shown great leadership. We have an excellent team chemistry both on and off the court.”