Volleyball ranked No. 2 in nation

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OIivia Lauter

Senior Lexie Collins hits the ball at the regional semi-final playoff game of the 2020 season. Collins is committed to play volleyball for the University of Wyoming.

Fresh off a state championship season, the volleyball team begins their season as No. 2 in the country according to USAToday’s August 21 rankings. 

I think this team is full of hard-working individuals that want to be their very best individually but also as a team,” head coach Ryan Mitchell said. “I think winning a state championship last year has them even hungrier to accomplish this task again.”

After being ranked second in the nation, the Leopards hope to keep their same mindset as years before.

“I don’t think our mentality will change much,” senior defensive specialist and setter Grace McLauglin said. “We will continue to work hard and push each other to get better everyday. Getting this ranking is just an acknowledgment of our dedication and work ethic, but it won’t change our attitude.”

The Leopards will enter matches this year as a higher ranked team. While pressure could be an issue for teams that are ranked higher, Mitchell doesn’t believe that will be the case.

“I have tried to keep that pressure off them. At the end of the day, they can only control their own individual play and the results will take care of themselves,” Mitchell said. “Pressure comes from worrying about the results. We try to take that off of them.”

After all the games, and practices from the previous season, the team recognizes that this accomplishment is an acknowledgment to their hard work.

“Our team has worked so hard to be where we are now,” junior setter Averi Carlson said. “We focus a lot on our technique as well as team bonding, so when we play, it really comes together.”

The news sparked reactions from the team.

“We were definitely pumped,” McLaughlin said. “It was really cool to see how we ranked with all the other schools across the country.” 

The team lost only four of their seniors last year, which keeps a majority of the team from last year intact for the upcoming season.

Our team goals for this season are mostly just to continue where we left off,” Carlson said. “We are just focusing on playing with the same intensity, focus, and drive. I think we’re going to do really well this season. We have so many seniors which is really good for the leadership on our team.”