ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERIC CLARK
Marion High School volleyball went through a coach-player liquidation after last season. This year the team has a new coach, a new style of play and only two seniors. That has head coach Ginger Roberts reluctant but excited about her team’s chances.
“I’m changing about everything that they do,” Roberts said. “I’m really excited and thrilled. They’re very competitive players.”
Roberts comes into the Marion system after a four-year stint as head coach at Osage City High School.
Before practice earlier this month, Roberts knew very little about her team and became anxious.
“I got a couple of videotapes from the local TV station,” Roberts said. “Based upon what I saw, I don’t think there is any reason why we shouldn’t be among the top two teams in the league. I just really didn’t know that much about them.”
Roberts’ team returns only two seniors with little or no varsity experience. One of the seniors, Maggie Powers, has made an immediate impression on Roberts.
“Maggie Powers has really stepped up in the setting position,” Roberts said. “She has had to totally relearn a new position and the last few days she’s really done well.”
Another standout for the Warriors is sophomore Brandi Peterie.
“She’s about as aggressive as they come,” Roberts said. “She’s just got long old arms. She’s going to be a middle blocker for us. There’s not much that gets past her. She’s going to be a pretty forceful player for us.”
Although the team is young, Roberts said she would rather have a young team than a team of veterans coming into a new program because the transition would be smoother for both the coach and the team.
“If you’re freshmen and you’re the best, you’re going to play,” Roberts said. “If you’re a senior and you’re not the best, you’re not going to.
“It’s hard if you walk into a new place were the seniors aren’t good,” she said. “That’s just not a good position to be in. If I had to have 10 or two seniors, I would rather have two.”
Roberts said she has been pleased with her seniors’ performance and is encouraged by their willingness to change styles. The Warriors will replace last year’s unorthodox style with a quicker and more aggressive one.
“I want to speed things up a little bit,” Roberts said. “I want a quicker offense. The main change is that we are going to specialize our players a lot more than before.
“Once they learn this new style of playing that I’m trying to teach them, then we’ll accomplish our goals.”
Those goals include having a winning record and being on top of the league standings. But Roberts’s vision for future is a little more bigger.
“My goal is for Marion to develop a volleyball tradition,” Roberts said.
“When people talk about our team, I want them to say we’re the team to beat. But that’s kind of hard to do in one season.”
Roberts said she Marion volleyball is a couple of years away from being a top contender.
“I don’t think it’s going to take us long to build that team idea,” Roberts said. “I would much rather have people be afraid of us when we walk in the door.”