South Tahoe volleyball team seeks cohesiveness |

South Tahoe volleyball team seeks cohesiveness

Chad Sellmer, Tribune staff writer

The Vikings’ volleyball team has a challenge ahead of it this year, with a new head coach taking the reins only a few weeks before the start of practice.

Luckily the new coach is someone most of the girls on the team are very familiar with.

Janae Ballingham, who coached the junior varsity team for five years and also coaches local club volleyball, takes over for Gary Hankoff, who resigned last month.

“It’s awesome that Janae is our coach,” said senior captain Erika Schimmel, who plays setter. “I’ve been with her since the eighth grade. She hung with us this season and didn’t let us get stranded.”

Although the team lost five seniors to graduation, several younger players are coming up to fill the openings.

“We had a great turnout (to start practice),” Ballingham said. “I think we can fill those spots because we’ve got a talented group of girls. We brought two sophomores up to varsity who are awesome (Stephanie Morrow and Monica Knight).”

Schimmel noted that with several underclassmen as well as a recent transfer, team cohesiveness will be a top concern.

“It is going to be a little tougher to get everyone to work as well together. Now we’ve got some sophomores playing with the seniors,” she said. “But the league is pretty wide open at this point. We’re looking to win league and go to zone, if not farther. I think we stand a really good chance.”

“(Team cohesiveness) is what we’re going to work on,” Ballingham said. “It seems like every year we are divided between grade level. There always seems to be that division. My goal for this team is to get is so that we are all one program. They can compete against each other for spots and playing time, but I want them to feel comfortable so that they can work together. You’re only as good as your weakest link, especially in volleyball, so playing as a unit will be my focus.

“We have gone to zone the last few years, but we have never gone as the number one team,” she added. “I’d like to go into zone being the top team out of our league. We’d like to be in front of (Douglas and Carson) this year and I think we can do that.”

2003 Schedule:

9/5 High Sierra Tournament TBA

9/6 High Sierra Tourn. TBA

9/9 at Damonte 6 p.m.

9/11 Reed 6 p.m.

9/13 Davis Tournament TBA

9/16 Reno High School 6 p.m.

9/18 at Wooster 6 p.m.

9/23 at Douglas 6 p.m.

9/25 Carson 6 p.m.

9/30 North Valleys 6 p.m.

10/2 at Hug 6 p.m.

10/9 at Reno High School 6 p.m.

10/14 Wooster 6 p.m.

10/16 Douglas 6 p.m.

10/21 at Carson 6 p.m.

10/23 at North Valleys 6 p.m.

10/25 West Campus Tourn. TBA

10/28 Hug 6 p.m.

10/30 Whittell 6 p.m.

11/7 Regionals TBA

11/8 Regionals TBA

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