In his first year as the Marietta High School volleyball coach, Coach Jeffrey Black and his team made leaps and bounds to set up the program for future success.
Finishing the season with a 13 – 21 record, Black says his team showed amazing progress throughout the season and established a strong culture for new MHS volleyball.
“Our varsity team is really young and we have high expectations for a bright future ahead,” said Black.
Their season-ending loss was a 5 set thriller against North Paulding, preventing them from advancing to the state playoffs. The Lady Devils lost the first 2 sets, won the next 2 sets and lost 13-15 in set 5. Coach Black said he learned a lot about his team during that match. “The girls will never stop fighting and supporting each other, he shared. “If we believe we can win, we can beat anyone.”
The Lady Devils now have their eyes set on the future with plans to compete on a higher level with a much stronger schedule next year.
With freshman setter and natural leader, Schuyler Parker; Sophomore pin hitters and key offensive weapons, Kendall Gazaway, Lauren Walker, and Grace Thompson; increased roles from backcourt threats, Katie Bonner and Caroline Hankins; and juniors Sarah (SK) Krivsky and Morgan Darby as senior leaders, the Marietta Volleyball team will be one to watch.
The Marietta community can also expect a focus on youth with plans to expand the middle school program and to host elementary school clinics next year.
To ensure the future success of Marietta volleyball, MHS coaches launched their own youth club called Marietta Volleyball (MVB).
Over 50 girls participated in middle school volleyball tryouts last year, not including Marietta Sixth Grade Academy. “We only had enough coaches to form one team, so many young athletes were cut,” said Black. “Unfortunately, at that age, when kids get cut they may never try the sport again. “
With the MVB program, there will be more coaches to accommodate every athlete that tries out for volleyball in grades 6 – 8. If there isn’t enough room on teams, athletes can participate in the developmental program to build their skills with the goal to make the team the following year.
MHS Senior Captain, Sarah Beth Poston and Senior Manager, Katharine Smart will serve as assistant coaches in the program
As a volleyball club director, Coach Black is a huge advocate for club volleyball and credits a lot of player development to participation during club season.
“Our athletes participating in club is really crucial to our success. High school season is 3 months long, club is 6-7 months long, nothing can replace the consistent practice and team atmosphere that club volleyball offers,” said Black.
During his time as a club director, he has helped numerous athletes gain exposure and get recruited to play at collegiate level schools across the country. “The goal is always to find the perfect fit for the athlete’s academic and social needs, then compliment that with volleyball, shared Black.
Another addition to the MHS volleyball program will be a focus on academics to ensure athletes are performing in the classroom. Volleyball players are expected to sit in the front of the class and positively represent MHS Volleyball.
Coach Black says the goal is for Marietta High School to become a dominant name in the local volleyball community. “We are not making any promises on winning championships, but are building a championship program where athletes are passionate about the game and love coming to practice.”
In 2019, high school athletes will participate in several summer camps in preparation for next season. MVB will also offer a summer camp for elementary and middle school athletes in 2019.
To learn more about Marietta Volleyball and to stay updated on events visit mariettavolleyball.com.