Last season, Cooperstown’s girls volleyball had a young squad that let small mistakes derail any attempts at larger success.
This season, the Redskins are still young, and the little mistakes still happen, but the team has found a way to win.
“They’re young, very young,” Redskin coach Rich Jantzi said, “They make mistakes still, but they don’t get away from us anymore. That has totally changed.”
On Tuesday at Bursey Gym, Cooperstown (5-1, 2-1) swept Little Falls, 25-15, 25-21, 25-22, in a non-division match. The Redskins are tied with Hamilton for second place in the Center State Conference Division III. The team’s only loss this season was to division leader Morrisville-Eaton on Dec. 12.
Jantzi credited two seniors, setter Katie Booan and libero Erin Hascup, for the winning season
“Katie, she’s the difference, because this is her team,” he said. “She just knows what to do on the floor. She is our point guard. She is our quarterback.
“We are definitely on the upswing,” he continued, “and the key all season has been our defense led by Erin Hascup. She is averaging 15-20 digs per match and has really done a nice job stabilizing our back-row defense. She gets to pretty much everything and is our defensive leader.”
Against Little Falls, Booan had 20 assists and Hascup had 14 digs.
In addition, Caroline Leonard had eight kills and three aces, including the match winner. Christina Grigoli had seven kills.
“Little Falls is down this year,” Jantzi said. “Although not so much tonight, our serving has been a weapon. We can definitely improve offensively. We utilized four or five hitters every match and all can improve.”
After a non-division game Wednesday night after deadline against Oppenheim-Ephratah, the Redskins will finish the season with six division matches and the Cooperstown Volleyball Tournament on Jan. 26. The Lady Redskins will host Mount Markham on Friday and play at M-E on Wednesday.
“The way it is shaking out, I would expect to finish top three in the division,” Jantzi said. “Hamilton and Mt. Markham will be right there with us, and Morrisville is the cream of the division.”
Janzti said his team still has much room for improvement, and if the girls keep working, they can get better.
“I just want them to work more as a team. Sometimes I see some selfish play. One day they will realize that volleyball is a team sport. The young girls can only get better, six of my 14 (players) are sophomores or younger.
“We qualify for sectionals with one more win,” he continued. “If we keep rolling, maybe we will get a home match for sectionals. That would be real sweet. I believe that we are going to be a tough out.”