The past few seasons have been a struggle for both the Delhi and Denair varsity volleyball teams in the Southern Athletic League with a series of one-year and done coaches, but in 2017, things seem to be shaping out for the better.
Both sides go into the new year with first year head coaches and high ambitions of successful turnarounds.
Delhi welcomes Erik Supnet as the head coach, while Denair's new English teacher Christy North took on the head coaching duties for the upcoming year.
“I always like to coach and help people out since volleyball is my favorite sport…I’ve also been playing for such a long time,” said Supnet.
Delhi is coming off another struggling season but saw some sparks with a 3-15 overall record, which included a pair of Southern Athletic League wins against their rivals Denair.
Hoping to change the program’s culture, Supnet held open gym over the summer and saw solid turnout.
This year’s squad is expected to have a dozen players on the roster.
“We had about 35 girls total, that is good. We definitely have some that I saw from last year’s volleyball team photo, some familiar faces,” said Supnet. “I want to start from the bottom to make sure everyone has a strong foundation. We plan on having 12 on varsity and 12 on JV.”
Some of the Delhi players to look out for include Ariana Escobedo, Diana Contreras and Susana Torres. Daisy Fuentes, Contreras, Lyliana Godinez and Judith Perez are all returners for the Hawks.
“I have heard bits and pieces about the team and there is real improvement,” said Supnet. “I am getting there and we are not getting too basic or fancy, just want to get basics solid and run some good solid basic plays before we advance.”
North is expected to continue the progression of the Denair program with her upcoming squad and a handful of standouts.
Some of those players include senior setter Madison Snider, senior libero Cierra Rodriguez and junior outside hitter Cheyenne Souza.
“Most of my varsity squad are also cheerleaders, so we don’t practice Fridays cause of games, so it’s very interesting,” said North.
The Coyotes are expecting to have 14 girls on this year’s varsity roster with 16 on the junior varsity squad. North said she would rather have a smaller, dedicated squad and not struggle to recruit more players.
“I do think I have a great power hitter in Cheyenne,” said North. “Definitely my go-to player, I have three strong setters, one junior, two seniors. Our goals are to make a statement in each match.”
“I know they didn't win last year, I am hoping that some things we do will give them some confidence,” North added. “I was able to do a short summer program in June, which we just worked on some things to see where the skill level was. No reason to cut a girl if they come out to play, especially there is no such thing as equal but there is such thing as fair playing time.”
Denair’s first scheduled game will be on the road at Waterford at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 11.
Delhi will take on Ripon Christian on the road at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 11.