Wakefield volleyball looking for consistency to build on program-best season

Sep 11, 2019 by

Published September 11, 2019

By DAN PAWLOWSKI

WAKEFIELD — “Consistent volleyball wins.”

That’s what third-year Wakefield High head coach Sasha Duprey tells her Warriors.

It just so happens that consistency is also a vital component of building a successful program.

For a long time, Wakefield volleyball had been working on just trying to compete in a brutally talented Middlesex League. Now, in the ninth year of the program, the Warriors have tangible evidence that they are in fact, getting consistently better, season-by-season.

Wakefield won seven matches last year, the most in program history. They have more-and-more players who specialize in the sport and are committed to it year-round like current senior captains Maddie Melanson, Katie Pearl and Jordyn Pugsley.

Duprey knows that the more consistent Wakefield can be during every point, every set, every match and every day in practice, the rest will take care of itself.

CAPTAIN Katie Pearl will be counted on to provide plenty of kills for the Warriors in ‘19. (Dan Pawlowski Photo)

“The goal is to always make the tournament and that’s what we’ve talked about,” said Duprey. “We’ve had more girls put in time during the offseason than ever before so that’s encouraging. We’re just trying to get better everyday and if that means we make the tournament, great, if that means we have a better record, great. We’re just want to put ourselves in the best position possible to succeed.”

The Warriors have eight returners from last year’s team with seniors Maddie Burke, Rachel McNall, Abbie Coughlin and juniors Lexi Chiros and Clara Butler joining Pugsley, Pearl and Melanson.

Wakefield also has many strong newcomers including four sophomores: Mia Desruisseaux, Kelsey Manchester, Amanda Nett and Maddie Seabury.

“We have some talented younger kids and we’re just ironing things out with them so when they get on the court they’re confident,” said Duprey. “We have four sophomores on the team and they’re all here for a specific reason – they’re all good enough to be on the court.”

The only newcomer to the varsity who had a major impact during Wakefield’s home opener last night was Desruisseaux who had plenty of strong kills from the right side.

The Warriors will count on consistent and efficient hitting from Desruisseaux, Pearl, McNall and Burke. Melanson and Coughlin are two talented middle hitters that Wakefield can build around while libero Pugsley and Pearl, will anchor the back line.

Chiros has been playing as Wakefield’s setter while they await the return of Butler who will free up Chiros to help out somewhere else later on.

Together, Wakefield has a mix of experience and potential that could equal even more improvement in 2019 so long as they can stay consistent.

The Warriors lost both of their first matches by scores of 3-0. First on Sept. 5 against Reading, then yesterday against Lexington. Wakefield hung right with the Minutemen yesterday at the Field House in the first set and nearly won it. Pugsley hit three aces from the service line to tie the set 15-15 and following kills from Pearl and Coughlin Wakefield tied it again at 19. The Warriors kept responding to Lexington’s runs as Coughlin and Burke had back-to-back hits to tie it once again at 21 before the visitors took the next four points.

Wakefield lost the second set 25-19 and the third set 25-11. Stringing strong sets like the first together, is something that the Warriors will try to accomplish through mental toughness. It’s easy to get discouraged in volleyball; coach Duprey wants her team to stay positive even (and perhaps especially) during tough stretches.

“It’s always about mental toughness in this sport. In most sports an error doesn’t result in a point or a score, where in our sport every single error results in a point for the other team so sometimes it’s about keeping us closer to their score and them further away from the final score than anything else. I think playing smart, composed, simple, straight-forward volleyball is always our tactic and we don’t want to give away any points,” said Duprey.

The Warriors start the season with four tough matches in a row as Arlington and Marblehead are up next. Those are both on the road, as are seven of their next eight.

It won’t be easy, but Wakefield can find success so long as they stick with it.

“We’ve seen really good things in our first two, we just have to be more consistent,” said Duprey.

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