Season Summary 2010-11
The Western Reserve Academy volleyball team, led by a talented group of seniors, used an 11-match season-ending winning streak to build an 18-4 record on the year, the most successful season for the team in at least a decade.
"This has been an exciting season for volleyball," said ninth-year coach Sherry Chlysta. "We had 13 girls who came together to form Ohana -- a family. We had eight returning players, so this promised to be a good season, but everyone worked above and beyond to make it a great year."
The Lady Pioneers were led by returning seniors Caroline Hubbard, Caitlin Greenwood, Emily Clark, Natalie Boerio and Melinda Nanovsky. Those five were supported by the addition of three freshmen -- Emma Pressley, Miranda Fetterman and Ashleigh Groves -- along with Emily Hallabrin '12, Ellie McBrier '12, Christine Orosz '13, Molly Clark '13 and Margaux Dean '11.
"We added three freshmen to the team -- Emma hits hard from the middle, Miranda hits from the outside and Ashleigh can dig up anything anyone can hit or serve at her, and serve it back even harder," Chlysta said. "Ashleigh and Natalie were the backbone of our defense, making it possible for a quick transition to an aggressive offense. Both worked to keep the opponents score down while making it possible for our setters and hitters to do their jobs.
"Emily (Hallabrin) moved up to varsity and has perfect setter's hands -- accurate every time to any hitter -- and she has a dangerously reliable serve. Ellie is a returning varsity player who serves consistently, passes well and hits accurately, too. Christine surprised us all by moving to the front row this year. She hits well and can block hitters a foot taller than she is. Molly stepped up to set for us this year so we could run a stronger offense with three front row attackers at all times. Hard-hitting left-hander Dean joined the team this year and, with her hard serves and consistent attacks, made life a little harder for our opponents."
Hubbard, a co-captain, and Greenwood were named co-Most Valuable Players.
"Caroline and Caitlin are two powerful athletes who gave their all to the team all season long," Chlysta said. "Caitlin once served 25 points in a single match. She can hit from anywhere along the net, and even in the back row, with power and accuracy that are unprecedented in my tenure at WRA. Caroline and Caitlin worked together like a well-oiled machine to run plays that were never before possible for us. They surprised opponents and impressed spectators and coaches."
Hubbard also was the recipient of a Gold Medal, the school's highest athletic honor, becoming the first volleyball player to win the award since 1991.
Nanovsky was selected as the team's Most Improved Player.
"Melinda was a completely different player this year," Chlysta said. "She worked on her attacks and mastered the timing for quicker sets. She looked forward to the opportunities opponents gave her when their passes accidently crossed the net within her reach. She slammed these balls so often that we sometimes heard an audible 'oh no' from opponents after they sent the ball in her direction.
"By the end of the season, Melinda was playing both front and back row. Her passing improved as did her court awareness, her aggressiveness as a player and her enthusiasm for this sport and her team. In going from a non-volleyball player to a starter and vital member of a winning team, Melinda, in her three years at WRA is not only the most improved player of this season, but quite possibly showed the most overall improvement of any player I have ever coached."
Emily Clark earned the Coaches/Spirit Award.
"Emily organized summer camps and was commended by the coach at the University of Akron for her constant effort to put a team together in the summer," Chlysta said. "She works to make the team more like a family so that even if you don't share her love of volleyball, you simply have to give 110 percent because you do love your team. Even when we were down against state-ranked Gilmour, Emily stayed positive, setting attainable goals for the rest of the game. She won our team spirit ball several times and kept everyone motivated to play their best 23 times throughout this year."
Head Coach: Sherry Chlysta
Captains: Emily Clark '11, Caroline Hubbard '11
MVP: Caitlin K. Greenwood and Caroline Hubbard
MIP: Melinda C. Nanovsky
Coaches/Spirit: Emily E. Clark
Gold Medal: Caroline Hubbard