Spring Valley volleyball starts season undefeated
HUNTINGTON — Spring Valley High School is known for its success on the football field with back-to-back appearances in the Class A AA state championship game, but the school’s volleyball team is also making a name for itself.
The Timberwolves, the 2017 state runner-up in volleyball, retooled for this season and have yet to lose a match.
Head coach Cadera Cole said the team record this season was 18-0-1 entering Saturday’s competition in the Medieval Madness Volleyball Tournament at Cabell Midland High School, where Spring Valley was one of 15 participants.
“This team is self-motivated, and they’re friends on and off the court,” said Cole, a former Spring Valley player who graduated in 2010. Cole is in her third year coaching the Timberwolves.
Cole said coming into the season she had high expectations. While some seniors were lost from last season, returning players and some newcomers have stepped into leadership roles.
″ They ’re definitely a defensive-minded group of girls,” Cole said. “We have leadership from Alexa Ball on defense, and on offense we have leadership from setter Brooke Smith.”
Ball and Smith are among the seniors on the Timberwolves roster, plus they are joined by Meagan Camden to form the three team co-captains. Cole said Smith is the quarterback of the team.
Spring Valley’s season began Sept. 1 with tournament matches at Woodrow Wilson. They captured that tournament win plus another triumph in Parkersburg last week.
The Timberwolves’ entrance into the Cabell Midland event came with placement into a tough pool.
Spring Valley had to get by rival Huntington High in the first match and won both sets 25-8 and 25-13. The second pool game against Bridgeport was tougher. Bridgeport was narrowly defeated by the Timberwolves in the first set 26-24, but went quietly in the second 25-13.
The third pool play match against Woodrow Wilson nearly cost Spring Valley its perfect record. After winning the first set 25-21, Spring Valley took a 16-11 lead only to see the advantage vanish with nine unanswered points by the Flying Eagles. Spring Valley rallied to tie the score and outlasted Woodrow Wilson with a final point in a 27-25 victory.
“That’s always good to be able to come back win a tough game like that,” Cole said. “Every day we expect to play to the best of our ability but ultimately the wins and losses don’t matter. If we give 110 percent then that’s what we want.”
The team’s chemistry has been built by the players having been together through school and in travel ball during the winter and spring. The team has attended camps hosted by Ohio University to further develop their skills.
While the 2018 Timberwolves don’t have as many seniors as last year, the young squad hasn’t let the mounting pressure of keeping an undefeated record intact get to them.
“Our goal as a team is to win,” said Grace Sullivan, one of several juniors for the Timberwolves. “There is pressure to stay undefeated, but if there wasn’t pressure it wouldn’t be the same team.”