|Miranda Fetterman '14 was named the team's Most Valuable Player.
The Western Reserve Academy volleyball team posted one of its best seasons in recent memory in 2012 and, in the process, left behind a memento of the season.
The Pioneers posted a 16-8 record behind the play of senior co-captains and four-year players Molly Clark and Christine Orosz, who lead an experienced team that won the first tournament trophy in coach Sherry Chlysta’s 11 years in charge.
“We knew last year was a building year that would carry over into this season,” Chlysta said. “We only lost one senior to graduation so we looked like an experienced team right away when the season started. Teamwork is so important in volleyball because you have to know where your teammates are supposed to be.”
The team used its preseason practice time to integrate newcomers Carly Kief ’14, Madison Bach ’16 and Rachel Morris ’16 into what was already a solid rotation of players.
“We moved some players around and they quickly adapted to their new positions,” Chlysta said. “We also had more people involved in summer camp this year, which meant we could do a lot more work before the season.”
The highlight of the season came in the Beachwood Tournament, where the Pioneers defeated Andrews Osbourne, Garfield Heights and Beachwood.
“This is the first time since I’ve been coach that we’ve won a trophy to put in the case in the Murdough Athletic Center,” Chlysta said with a laugh. “Garfield Heights was our best competition that day and it was a game where our defense was really strong, which meant that we were able to have a few surprises for them.”
Miranda Fetterman ’14 was named the team’s Most Valuable Player.
“During her freshman year, Miranda played right side and was a big part of our successful season,” Chlysta said. “The next year, I asked her to focus on her passing and even had her play back row exclusively during our summer practices. Not every six-foot-tall hitter would agree so happily to move to the back row, but Miranda was smart enough to know that if the team can’t pass, no one gets to hit. She now plays all six rotations and we simply can’t afford to take her off the court.
“Miranda has a high volleyball IQ. She knows where here teammates are on the court, where her opponent is, and often advises her teammates about the weaknesses of the opposition. She knows where to serve and has the ability to place the ball right where she wants it, making her our highest-scoring server this season.
“Miranda is, at heart, a hitter. At the net, she could carefully place the baller wherever her opponent wasn’t, or slam it so that they wished they hadn’t been there. She is an exceptional player and an essential part of the team who makes us better, both individually and collectively.”
Katie Chlysta ’15 was named the Most Improved Player.
“After our season ended last year, Katie’s time practicing volleyball picked up,” Chlysta said. “She played basketball, but as soon as practice or a game ended, she donned her Spandex and headed to the field house with a volleyball. She practiced daily all winter and spring.
“Throughout the summer Katie really began to work on her game. She ran, she strengthened and she practiced. She attended speed camps, ran regular timed miles, went to the fitness center and spent hours in the gym every day. Such improvement can only come through hard work and dedication. For Katie it is about passion. She loves her team and loves the sport of volleyball.”
The Coaches Award was presented to Emma Presley ’14.
“Emma has a natural athleticism and a desire to improve, not just for herself, but for her team,” Chlysta said. “She plays left, right or middle depending on the needs of the day, can hit quicksets, can send a ball deep into the other team’s court or can slam the ball down hard. She blocks the opponents’ best hitter and has become an asset to our defense.
“She is willing to do anything I ask of her, and she seeks and welcomes advice from her coaches as well as her teammates. She is always 100 percent into the game, even when she is on the bench. Emma is always encouraging her players and she rarely gets a hit without immediately yelling ‘great set.’ I have never seen her show disappointment in a teammate, nor do I remember a game or a practice where she didn’t say something positive.
“I could not be more proud of her and we are fortunate to have her as a part of the team.”
Clark earned the Spirit Award.
“Anyone who saw Molly’s This I Believe speech should know that her exuberance was not just a show for Morning Meeting,” Chlysta said. “She brings excitement, life and charm to everything she does. She can pick you up on a bad day with a smile and a corny joke, and she does the same for our team. If you know Molly, you know her passion for volleyball and for the team.
“When asked to vote for the award, her teammates’ comments included, ‘Molly is always encouraging on and off the court,’ ‘In rough games she keeps us happy by always trying her best,’ and ‘She screams, she shouts, she demands with smiles that everyone work to do their best.’
“Molly helped make this a fun and successful season.”
Chlysta also pointed out the contributions made by Orosz.
“Christine has grown with the program and really cares about the team. Both she and Molly brought a lot of skills and leadership to the team this year.”
As for next season, Chlysta is looking forward to what the team can do next.
“We expect to have a strong season,” she said. “While we are sorry to see our two captains go, we have a strong junior class that is ready to lead us.”
Head Coach: Sherry Chlysta
MVP: Miranda Fetterman '14
MIP: Katie Chlysta '15
Coaches Award: Emma Presley '14
Spirit Award: Molly Clark '13
Copyright © 2012 Western Reserve Academy
All Rights Reserved