Holliston Volleyball Grows in Strength under New Coach

Christopher Tremblay
Young talent and a good share of mature players are what’s adding strength to Holliston volleyball this year.
Issue Date: 
November, 2017
Article Body: 

After spending two years as the junior varsity coach for the Holliston girls’ volleyball team, Anneliese Harrison was handed the reigns of the varsity squad this fall. With five games remaining on their regular season, as of this writing, the Panthers find themselves with a 5-8 record and are still in the hunt to reach the state tournament.
“It’s in reach, but it’s going to be a battle to qualify for the tournament, needing more wins,” the first-year varsity coach said. “Last year, the team was only able to manage three wins, so we’ve already bettered that record, but would still like to accomplish our goal.”
Harrison believes the team success is due to the more mature athletes as well as the strong performances from the hitters; such as junior Brooke Geoffrey, who is playing volleyball for the first time. Geoffrey had participated in other sports at Holliston, but was looking for something different this fall and decided to make the move to volleyball.
“Brooke is an amazing individual who was a complete match to this sport,” Harrison said. “At 5’ 11” playing middle hitter, she blocks just about everything that comes near her.”
Senior Olivia Nguyen and juniors Ally Edward and Anna Kovea have been guiding the team as tri-captains. Edward is an outside hitter, who has height just not as tall as Geoffrey, is a very consistent hitter and one Harrison can trust at all times to get the job done. Nguyen is the team’s setter and has meshed well with both Edward and Geoffrey. Kovea plays the libero position while bringing an upbeat influence to the squad.
“Anna plays a crazy back row and dives all over the floor,” the coach said. “She also keeps the team positive with her attitude. She always finds ways to make any situation a happy one.”
Another outside hitter with some power is junior Emily Howland. According to her coach, she has so much power she records a kill almost every time she hits the ball. Howland also excels at serving.
As the Panthers look to change their past and chase a berth in the tournament Coach Harrison is already impressed with their progress.
“Coming into the season we were looking to be a lot more serious team and bring an intensity to the program,” Harrison said. “I want to make them mentally strong as well as physically. In the past, they were not living up to their potential, but this year they’ve made some big strides.
Over the past few years Holliston would be taken to the cleaners by certain teams, but this fall, the girls have grouped together, and although they haven’t always come away with a win, they’ve kept the scores much closer. Against rival Westwood, the Panthers took the Wolverines to a fifth set before eventually falling and even defeated Medway, which was a huge win for the Holliston volleyball program.
As the team battles to earn that sacred spot in the tournament, win or lose, the Panthers know they have already improved in so many ways in just one year under Harrison. Holliston came into the season looking to improve upon last year’s record while bridging the gap between their Tri Valley League opponents. Whatever happens the rest of the way, the Panthers find themselves on the right path and although they will losing a couple of seniors Harrison will have her key players back for another run at the tournament come next season.