Varsity Volleyball Sets Up for the Season


Carrie Cao '23

Piper Willinger ’22 spikes the ball against Ethel Walker.

The Varsity Volleyball team, coming off of a year-long hiatus from competitive games, has been working to hit their stride. During the team’s first gameday, the team fell in back-to-back contests against Andover and Exeter, 1-3 and 0-3 respectively. In the wake of those losses, however, the team adopted a new mindset of perseverance and teamwork, nurturing those traits both in-game and in practice. This was evident in a subsequent four game stretch against Kent, Millbrook, Ethel Walker, and Taft, as the team notched four consecutive wins.

One of the biggest changes this year was the return of Coach David Bolmer ’78 from retirement, who had previously led the team to eight New England Championships and 15 Founders League titles during his 27 years with the program. Coach Bolmer encourages the team to get every ball up and over the net. He hopes that by keeping the ball in play, the other team will get frustrated, resulting in a Hotchkiss point. To achieve this, the team has been uniting in high-pressure game situations as well as fun activities such as a scrimmage against Boys Varsity Basketball. Coach Bolmer said, “It’s really important that each player learns their job and that they can be relied on by their other teammates. Even when they make difficult plays, they have really been working hard to improve by running down each play and really strengthening their team dynamic.”

Especially after the team started off the season with its two losses, the focus on teamwork helped the team strengthen its defenses to get the upper hand. The players’ goal is to reach their fullest potential on the court and to walk off knowing that they gave full effort for every point. One of the team’s hitters, Paige Dzenutis ’23, said, “The team this year is really fired up to play. In the last couple of weeks, we have been getting into a really good rhythm and syncing up with each other on the court.”

Another challenge the team has been working to overcome is the recent injuries of two players, captain Piper Willinger ’22 and Rena Peng ’22. Willinger, who has a sprained ankle, and Peng, who has an elbow injury, will both be out for a few games. Because both players are outside hitters and de facto leaders, Coach Bolmer and the team’s players have been working to balance out the lineup, reconfigure the court to best suit their needs, and hopefully emerge as leaders in the league. 

The team’s gradual improvement and resilience are key parts of their current success, allowing them to continuously develop and overcome any struggles they may face this season. As for now, the team looks forward to their next game, on Saturday, Oct 30, at Sacred Heart.