ARLINGTON — It’s time for the Eagles’ volleyball season to begin and with a number of returning varsity athletes plus a crop of talented newcomers, expectations are set high for this season.
“The first week is all about getting together as a team — getting the setters tuned in with the hitters and really good communication going,” said head coach Chad Palmiter. “I am really proud of what these girls accomplished in the off-season. They played for a number of different clubs and now we just have to come together as one unit.”
During the first few weeks of practice, Palmiter was impressed to find a renewed team spirit and better volleyball knowledge, and hopes to channel that into a successful year.
“We talked about the fact that we do look better — with our volleyball knowledge and skills — but that’s just flashes of brilliance. There’s no guarantee that it will translate into wins — so we are raising the intensity during practive to build consistency. We are good and what’s going to make us great is doing those things over and over again.”
The Eagles returned five players — captains Brooke Johnson and Audrey Frolich, Amy Revelle, Shelby Shackelford and Jessie Landis. Newcomers include starting libero Haley Gonzales, who was an outside hitter on Arlington’s junior varsity team last year.
“Haley is definitely someone to watch out for. She worked on her passing a lot and becoming really consistent,” said Palmiter. “She one of those girls who realized, ‘I’m not getting any taller’ and focused on passing and speed and she has earned her spot through hard work.”
The Eagles welcome the presence of Audrey Randles as well, a 6-foot-2 sophomore.
“We expect her to make us pretty strong on blocking,” said Palmiter. “It’s definitely nice having someone who can put down hits.”
The Eagles’ main goal for this season is simply improvement.
“Last year we lost the play in to districts,” said Palmiter. “We want to definitely get to districts this year and double our wins from last season.”
And Palmiter thinks the team has a shot, especially considering how much they have improved over last season.
“We have a new and consistent team,” he said. “They just keep setting the bar higher and increasing their expectations.”
The Eagles host Redmond at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 16.