|NTL VOLLEYBALL: SAYRE'S SHAY SIMPLY LOOKING FOR LADY REDSKINS TO FULFILL POTENTIAL IN 2018 (2018-09-04)
By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
SAYRE — Longtime Sayre volleyball coach has returned to the program for a year as interim coach, and is hoping the young Lady Redskins can fulfill their potential in 2018.
“I just want these girls to e good teammates, represent themselves, Sayre, and the staff, with pride,” said Shay. “I sat them down and told them to do everything it takes to be successful, and most of it occurs outside of the gym.
“At the end of the season I want them to ask themselves, ‘did I do what it takes to make me reach my potential this year,” added Shay. “And, that's a charge made to everyone in the program.”
Shay, who has stepped in while coach Elizabeth Higley takes a year off for work-related reasons, coached a senior-laden team in 2016 to the program’s first-ever appearance in the District 4 finals.
Only junior Maddy Dutra, who missed a large part of last season with a serious knee injury, returns from the 2016 team.
“Since Sayre graduates 60 to 70 kids a year, statistically there are only so many athletic kids to fill the rosters for all of the fall programs,” said Shay. “We are not deep in any one position although there are kids who are versatile enough that they can get the job done in another role.
“Last year's unfortunate lesson showed us that roles and expectations can change here at Sayre in one play,” said Shay in reference to Dutra’s injury. “We have days where everyone is clicking and it's a sight to behold. Then, we can follow it up by ‘what was that?’
“I told the girls the good news is that everyone is improving,” added Shay. “I see some of the new ‘role players’ focusing on the skills that are specific to those positions, and really trying to make them work. Even at this varsity level, we are making sure that the attacks and contacts are solid and safe.”
Junior Lexi Post is expected to get the majority of time at setter with juniors Julia Boyle and Maddy Dutra also seeing time there.
Dutra and Boyle will see the majority of their court time at outside hitters, along with juniors Emily Brion and Erika Wells.
Seniors Miranda Tappan and Allia Quattrini, and junior Maddy Wilson will see action at middle hitter.
Junior Hannah Garrity and freshman Alison Post will see time at libero, and junior Sarah Vandemark will suit up as a defensive specialist.
Shay, who cites the fact the Lady Redskins have five or six girls playing in the offseason as a strength, is a bit concerned by his team’s lack of height.
“I asked the team what they thought our biggest challenge was,” said Shay. “One hand came up and she said ‘we're short!, And, she is right.
“We won't be impressing anyone with our overall stature,” added Shay. “That makes blocking inherently more difficult. Our back row players better be ready to play some defense for sure.”
Shay said the team will have to play as a team for any chance of success.
“Volleyball is the ultimate ‘team’ sport,” said Shay. “Our setter(s) can't shine if we can't pass a ball to her. Our hitters can't shine if we can't set a ball to her.”
On the NTL Small School Division: “I saw Williamson play (at Athens) and they are skilled as usual,” said Shay.
NEB has players who have played in the offseason, as well as the entire Canton team,” noted Shay. “I don’t know what Cowanesque Valley has, but I guess we will see on Tuesday.
“It really looks like it's anyone's league this year,” added Shay. “I have a feeling that every team that we face knows that they have to bring their ‘A-game’ to play against us; that says a lot for everyone.”
Sayre opens the 2018 campaign tonight at Cowanesque Valley.
IN PHOTO: Sayre’s Maddy Dutra.
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