Girls volleyball off to a strong start


Shelby Roth

Girls volleyball waves to the crowd after their strong win against Blake on Sept.14.

Shelby Roth and Emma Tyser

Richard Montgomery’s varsity girls volleyball team has started their season off strong with a 5-4 record. Their schedule so far has consisted of some of the county’s top teams. 

They finished last year with a 10-4 record, the best record among fall sports. They eventually fell to Churchill in the regional semi-finals. Their success last year helped give them the confidence to achieve bigger things this season. 

“We have an incredible amount of potential to achieve big things. Of course, we’re looking for county championships and states,” sophomore captain Ema Djordjevic said. “But we also have goals within our team to improve communication and create a safe and comforting environment for all of us to be able to do what we love.” 

The team is working on setting a few goals at a time throughout different periods of the season. Together, with their goals in mind, they are working to reach their full potential in and out of the gym.

“We have been talking about goal setting all season. Each player has set a precedent for themselves and together as a team we have done the same,” varsity head coach Gretchen Barber-Strunk said. “Our focus this season is being intentional with our goals and practices and striving to achieve them.”

The girls place priority on forming a sense of family within themselves. During their free time, the team works to get to know one another well, including eating lunch together on game days and going out to various team bonding outings on weekends.

“We are extremely close. We all know the key to a winning team is the connection and how well we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” sophomore captain Corinne Howard said. “We just spend time together freely, with no real structure.” 

 In their win against Blake High School on Sept. 14, Djordjevic ended the night with a .883 hitting percentage, earning 15 kills. Senior captain and libero Alba Saberbein contributed 20 digs and 5 aces. 

In a rematch of last year’s regional semi-final and the teams annual Dig Pink game, the Rockets played a close, competitive game. All three sets were separated by 2 points; 24-26, 23-25, 23-25. 

Many players have found themselves playing new positions during the season. This comes from the team’s goal of being able to grow and develop into the strongest version of themselves with the goal of creating a better, more cohesive group where everyone can contribute anywhere on the court.

“We’ve all been placing lots of emphasis on work we’re putting in to become more versatile as players, which has helped us live out our potential,” Djordjevic said. “Everyone on our team could play any position on the court, and we’ve been actively working on improving those qualities in practice.” 

The team is composed of nine underclassmen and five upperclassmen. With such a young varsity team, the girls have a lot of room for development and growth. 

“Great things are already in the works. Both this season and future seasons,“ Barber-Strunk said. “With talent and hard work, anything is possible.” 

“It’s refreshing to see such a large group of people ready to contribute what’s necessary for the team’s success,” Djordjevic said. “It also makes me extremely proud and excited to see how much progress we’ve made since the season started. It’s honestly wild.”