WYE MILLS - The Chesapeake College volleyball team has a real Eastern Shore flavor.
Eleven of the 12 players on the roster graduated from high school on the Shore and the other one, Devin Herlihy, lives in Easton.
Their familiarity with one another is turning into a huge strength and making the team’s chemistry outstanding.
“I have quite a few players from Easton,” Skipjacks’ coach Emily George said. “They are friends and have played together. I have two sets of cousins. They all are happy and get along. They want to get together, have cookouts and swim together. They want to bond as a team. They are just excited.”
The resulting enthusiasm and energy the players bring to practice is obviously a big asset for the Skipjacks.
Herlihy will pass the ball often to an imposing frontline that is spearheaded by middle hitter Emma Stoltzfus (5-11), outside hitter Ally Lloyd (5-8), rightside hitter Megan Kattering (5-8), outside hitters Emma Mckenzie (5-7) and Eric Barrow (5-6).
The Skipjacks are eager to learn and help the team to a breakthrough season.
“Most people on the team haven’t played in the last year and it was probably in a setting they weren’t used to,” Chesapeake setter Devin Herlihy said. “We are happy to be playing again. What more can we ask for?”
Herlihy, the only sophomore on the team, will be a huge key to Chesapeake’s offense. She graduated from Loch Raven High in Baltimore and lives in Easton.
Herlihy played one season at Division III Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
“She was going to be the assistant coach,” George said. “She is 27 years old. But I needed more players.
“As the setter, she decides where the play is going to go,” she added. “She will be controlling most of the game. She is really good with communicating with her teammates and telling them where to be on the court.”
The Skipjacks worked rigorously on Plyometrics, which is also known as jump training, to improve their play at the net. The time spent doing has proven worthwhile.
“Their vertical jumps are getting better,” George said. “They are a good wall and when the ball goes to the frontline, I think they will dominate at the net. They are very scrappy.”
George also raves about defensive specialists Katie Riggleman and Oliva Santos.
“Katie has an excellent pass almost every time,” the coach said. “And Oliva is really good at reading the ball.”
George also expects outside hitter Kierstyn Tilley, middle hitter Maddy Harrison, rightside hitters Taylor Lindsay and Jayonia Jackson to be significant contributors.
Looking back, George would rather forget her first season in 2018 at Chesapeake when the team won only one out of 11 games. Who can blame her?
The Skipjacks, however, improved to five wins in 2019.
Now George expects her team to take another step forward and be a roaring success.