Last season, in her first year as the head coach of the Glasgow High volleyball team, Stacey Anderson did something no volleyball coach had done in more than a decade at the school – led the team to a winning record. In fact, the Dragons did one better than that, finishing at 7-6.
Now in her second season at the helm, the program appears to be moving forward for the first time in a while.
“The success has shown the girls that anything can be accomplished with hard work and dedication,” Anderson said.
Anderson has four returning starters who already understand the core values of what made last season so memorable. They are seniors Skylar Brainard, Jasmyne Hayman and Cynthia Agramonte along with junior Ondrea Boyer.
“Coming from last season, we had no idea how the season was going to be with a new coach,” recalled Brainard, who has been in the program since her freshman year. “Coach Anderson taught us to push and defeat all odds. We worked as a team in everything we did. If one player got down we all, as a whole, made sure we picked them up and kept striving to win and to finish the game. This season, we are going to bring back that hunger we had for the game last year, but this year we are going to work 10 times harder than we ever did last year. Last year, we worked as a team. This year, we plan on doing the exact same thing but with the determination that we are ready to fight and win the game.”
All four returning players have the skills to go with their mindset.
“Jasmyne has the abilities to pass, hit, block and set, which is a phenomenal combination in any one player,” Anderson said. “Skylar has the ability to set to any of her teammates and more importantly, knows how to block opponents, which can’t always be taught, but for her it is automatic. Cynthia’s abilities go above and beyond any one player on our team. Her volleyball skills outweigh almost everyone on the court, and she can be universal as well. She is the one to go after every ball.”
Anderson has known Boyer the longest, and not just because she has started since her freshman year.
“I trained her young, and it shows,” Anderson said of her youngest daughter. “She is a captain because she knows how to motivate and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that her volleyball skills are amazing. She can serve, pass, set, block and hit, all at 5-foot-2.”
Anderson’s coaching philosophy dates back to her playing days in high school in a variety of sports and her time playing in the Army, where the focus wasn’t on the final outcome, but rather the process to get there.
“I believe in giving the direction needed to the girls in order for them to put it in play,” Anderson explained. “We practice long and hard to try and get everything right. Teaching each team player how to have each other’s back. I believe in giving direction and practicing execution until you accomplish your goals and remembering there is no ‘I’ in team.”
Anderson is excited about a solid crop of talent coming up from last year’s junior varsity team, which also had a winning record.
“There are a few promising newcomers,” Anderson pointed out. “Denyia Allen, a junior, had proven her abilities last year with all of the blocks and hits she had just on the net. I also have a delightful young lady, Kyleigh Pleasant, who I like to look at as my possible libero. She only learned how to play a couple years ago.”
Anderson mentioned there are others showing potential early in practice, but she isn’t ready to commit to naming them to the varsity squad.
“Well, there is always going to be competition in the mindset of these young athletes as they are always wanting to be the best,” she said. “We are trying to practice harder in order to make it so that everyone else will have to ‘keep up’ this year.”
If the rookies can keep up and the veterans play to their potential, it could be another exciting season for the Dragons. And it might be a season that extends beyond the final regular season game.
“The realistic goals, as with anything we go in to, is to do our best and hope that our best can take us to the playoffs this year,” Anderson said. “We have a winning mindset, and our goal is to play each team one match at a time, executing all that we have learned in hopes that our best is good enough.”
Glasgow opens up the 2019 campaign on Sept. 6 at William Penn High School. And when this group of girls takes the court in the opening match, it will be the first time they do so truly knowing they have what it takes to be a winning team.
“What I am looking forward to the most about our first game is seeing how we play together since we have new players and seeing what we need to work on,” Brainard said. “But I’m very excited to play, especially since this is my last year. I know that I need to work harder than ever before to ensure that we will have a great winning season.”
For a complete schedule visit www.dragonssports.com.