High Expectations for Girls Volleyball Team

Jalen Flowers, Staff writer

The new year marks new beginnings for Edwardsville’s Girls Volleyball team.

 After a stellar 2021 regular season, the Tigers finished 4th in the state. While hoping to maintain similar winning habits from the prior year, the team is facing adversity on its roster.

9 seniors are missing from last year’s team, leaving leadership roles empty all over the club. Regardless of the new look, head coach Heather Ohlau has high expectations for the team.

“In the past we have seen seniors’ kind of rule the team, and we want to get out of that habit. I expect leadership from everyone. No player should be scared of speaking up or adopting that role.”

While the Tigers have lost some talent, Ohlau is still expecting senior leaders to step up. Middle blocker Ava Waltenberger is returning this season, in a position where the team needs her most.

“Middle blocker is like the quarterback position in football,” Ohlau said. “The team will need her to lead especially after losing our setters and several leaders.”

Senior Claire Dunivan is filling the void left by star Gabby Saye, the former Tiger who led the squad in hitting percentage. Dunivan is hoping to see a team effort in this upcoming year.

“We were very senior led last year. There will be a lot of different grades out there but hopefully everyone will perform along with the seniors.”

Following an impressive playoff run, the 2021 season ended with a 2-1 loss to Barrington. Ohlau is approaching the new year with an optimistic attitude, with her goals set on finishing on top of the conference once again. However, finishing 4th in the state has created high anticipation for this upcoming season.

This Tuesday’s matchup against O’Fallon gives the Tigers an opportunity to continue where they left off, as they swept the Panthers 3-0 last year. Conference play is rarely a problem for the girls, as they went undefeated against Southwestern conference opponents in 2021. Ohlau claims this rivalry brings the best out of both teams and is a healthy challenge to start the season.

Both Ohlau and Dunivan share the same excitement for the game. “Rivalry games are always really fun and competitive,” Dunivan explained, “Tuesday will be a great way to start off the year.”

The girls are buzzing about the opportunity to start the season with a win. The loss of many seniors has sparked curiosity surrounding the team. However, after an abrupt end to last year’s season, the Tigers are hoping to finish the year off on top.