Volleyball teams begin new season

High school volleyball teams working on basic fundamentals and game tactics before start of season.
Aaliyah Reynolds works through passing drills.

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The Winters High School volleyball team has been practicing hard to work on all the skills of the game. The varsity and junior varsity teams have been attending practices together so they can all benefit from the team of coaches. As the Warriors have been defining their dedication to the team and working on their individual skills, the new coach has had a learning curve of his own. Joshua Benton is new to the team this year as head coach. While busy assessing the individual players strengths, Benton is also hard at work on strengthening the teams’ offensive and defensive resolve.  “I wanted to start early for the 2019 season. We had a couple practices before the end of the school year,” said Benton. “During the summer we held a volleyball camp so the program could work on developing individual skills in the off-season. In the preseason we have been focusing on player position responsibilities.” At every practice they start with 15 minute individual warmups, setting and hitting against the wall with focus on quality of form during the repetitions. This gives the coaches time to evaluate and correct when needed. The Warriors then move onto the basic drills of passing, hitting and setting. In the last two weeks of practice with the beginning of the season drawing near, the Warriors have moved into more advanced drills. The team is working on game scenarios: Free-ball, perimeter defense and receiving a serve.  “The Warriors’ transitioning from offense to defense is starting to develop a flow and rhythm. Free-ball recognition and transition is improving and our players are developing better decision making skills,” said Benton. Many of the players that were on last year’s team have returned. The Warriors did lose two left-handed blockers from last year who Benton said will be missed. Benton stated, “we now have a small but solid group that are improving every practice. The players are starting to work together as a team and I constantly see players helping each other understand their responsibilities.” Jocelyn McMillan is a senior on the varsity team and finished last season as the teams best server. This year McMillan’s serves will continue to disrupt the competition’s defense. McMillan has skills on both sides of the net as one of the team’s strongest defensive players. Emilia Orosco also a senior has three years of experience at the high school level of competition. Orosco has many valuable traits, some of which are her reliability and team leadership. Orosco motivates the team with enthusiasm.  Three sophomores who have made being a “Warrior” a part of their identities are stepping up and showing promise for the upcoming season. Gianna Carrion started jump serving early in the preseason and has great strength and jumping ability.  Shelby Boykin has a definite strength in spiking the ball which she is able to do with either hand. Boykin also has terrific passing skills, which makes her a true asset to the team. Rylie Schroeder, the third sophomore, has a great presence on the court when it comes to defense. Schroeder backs up her defense skills with her  court awareness and split second decision making. “Schroeder is a student first and always eager to learn by asking great questions to make sure she understands each situation,” said Benton. “I am really impressed with the motivation and positive attitudes of all our players and I expect good things from them throughout the season,” said Benton. The Warriors started their season on Tuesday, Aug. 20 when they traveled to Orland for a non-conference game. On Thursday, Aug. 22, the Warriors will host a conference game against Esparto, in the gym at Winters High School. Junior varsity starts at 5 p.m. with varsity to follow.]]>

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