JV Volleyball: A Team Redesigned


Scout McKibben-Baier ’22

Rena Peng ’22 serves the ball during practice.

Set side by side, last year’s JV Girls Volleyball team and this year’s differ greatly. A new Head Coach, Mr. William Fenton, and a completely overhauled roster present a unique challenge this year. However, the JV girls see this as a rare opportunity to establish a new identity. Co-captain Sonali Soni ’19 said, “Now that about half the team is comprised of new players, it has given us an opportunity to create an entirely new team dynamic together. We work well both on and off the court because, in a sense, everyone is a leader and a role model to one another.”

Three major changes in the school’s volleyball program have led to a new beginning for the teams. Fenton replaced former JV Girls Volleyball Head Coach Elizabeth Dittmer after Fenton returned from a sabbatical leave.  Last year’s squad was made up mostly of Seniors, resulting in few returners on the roster this year.  Additionally, the Girls Varsity Volleyball team shrank its roster from 19 players to nine, which had a trickle-down effect on both the JV and Thirds rosters. Now, eight out of the fourteen players on the JV team are new, and they have to adjust to a new coach’s style.  Fenton has emphasized the importance of communication to his team. He said, “I set up as many game-like situations as I can so that the girls learn to trust each other and support.  Communication is really important, and the only way I know how to keep getting better in that regard is to give them lots of repetitions.” 

Unlike last year’s team, which started the season hot at 6-2, this year’s team has stumbled out of the gate with a 5-4 start. However, recent wins against Rumsey Hall and Greenwich Academy indicate that the team is finding its footing.  

With a roster of mostly new players, the Captains had their work cut out for them.  In the face of this challenge, co-captains Soni, Ellie Farrington ’19 and Talya Li ’19 have maintained team spirit and set strong examples for the new players. Elizabeth Molitor ’20 raved, “Our captains have really been amazing this season.  They always bring such good attitudes to practice, and they’ve brought us together as a team.”

JV Girls Volleyball has work to do if it hopes to match last year’s record of 11-4, but recent victories and an aura of optimism suggest it is turning a corner.  The team will face off against Choate at home this Saturday, hopefully continuing its midseason push.