MARICOPA — Last year for the Maricopa High School volleyball team was all about growth and having a strong desire to learn, which propelled the Rams to five more wins than the previous year. Now, even though the team is still growing, their coach, Theresa Abernathy, wants to get the players to believe they can do even better.
The Rams have had a young team for the past two seasons when they finished 7-15 in 2019, and 2-20 in the previous season. Now a roster filled with a majority of upperclassman players, the Rams are hoping to turn around a few losing seasons into a winning season, even though this year might be a little different.
Due to the pandemic, the season has been cut to 15 matches, then teams will compete among the nearby schools until they reach the playoffs. Also, the athletes are already dealing with online classes, then before every practice, they must get their temperature taken.
“We are following the mitigation strategies to promote the health and safety of our athletes,” said Abernathy. “We are following all the protocols set up by AIA and the governor to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 whenever we are in the gym. When the gym was closed, the players had an online program that they followed daily.”
Abernathy is entering her fourth year with Maricopa and although this season is unlike any other, there’s a good chance that the Rams could use their growth and take advantage of the shortened schedule to make a push for a successful year.
“I know the season is going to be short, but our goal is to make the playoffs,” stated Abernathy. “This year is about getting our players to believe in themselves and to know with their hard work they can compete at a much higher level. We had more wins than the previous year and I would like to build on that.”
The 2021 senior class hasn’t seen much success throughout their volleyball career, as the only winning season for varsity was in 2017, but one thing they have done is build a foundation for a program. Abernathy is optimistic that Maricopa can introduce volleyball summer camps and train younger kids in the community.
“I’m hoping to get more young kids in this community in this amazing sport of volleyball,” she smiled. “I would love to set up more summer camps and individual training for younger children of all age groups. The future of this program is going to be strong! Every year we will get better and better.”