Hitting the Ground Running

Volleyball Has 15-4 Record


Kierstin Gay

Coach Mike Brandon gives the GHS volleyball team a pep-talk during a timeout.

The GHS volleyball team has started its season hot by compiling a 15-4 record through their first month of play. Coming off of a 29-9 season last year, the players hit the ground running in their opener against the Grand Island Northwest Vikings, winning 2-1. The Dragons ended last year in the first round of state, losing 3-2 against Elkhorn South.

“We’re going to bounce back by working hard and addressing the weaknesses of this year’s team,” said head volleyball coach Mr. Mike Brandon.“We felt one area we needed to be stronger in was blocking, so we’ve focused on that area more than we did last year.”

Losing last year’s starting pin hitter Sky McCune called for a change in the team’s playstyle. McCune’s senior year, she bounced back from injury, setting a school record of 38 kills. McCune is currently playing at Creighton University as a defensive specialist. 

“Elle Heckenlively was a middle for us last year but stepped into the pin after Sky left,” senior right side hitter Hanna Loseke said. “We needed a big, consistent hitter to fill her shoes.”

The Dragons are currently 15-4, losses coming from Lincoln Lutheran, Elkhorn North, Marian, and Papillion-LaVista. All losses happened during tournament play, leaving the in-season record 6-0. Despite the substantial record at this time in season, student attendance has been lower than the team desires. 

“I wish more students would show up on game days,” Loseke said. “It makes the environment much more fun and exciting to play in.”

Wanting more students to show support is not the only issue that has impacted the team. Injuries amongst the players have been a struggle this season as well. So far, there have been four notable injuries. Junior Erin Hildebrand tore her ACL and Meniscus, senior Brena Mackling fractured her ankle, senior Maddie Johnson tore her labrum in her shoulder and Loseke had a high ankle sprain. 

“It’s been tough, especially when, at one point, three of our seniors were out, but it allowed people to step up and show not only their athletic skills but also their ability to adapt,” said sophomore Elle Heckenlively. “It also shows that when our team is faced with adversity, we can come together to overcome it rather than falling apart.”

Overcoming that adversity will be the prime focus these next few weeks of the season as the team continues to work towards a strong district seeding and a potential run for the state tournament.