Demons continue to build
There are a few faces which remain the same on the Washington volleyball team, and this season, they are looking to catch the Southeast Iowa Conference by surprise.
Coming off last year’s 5-25 campaign, the Demons are looking to quickly improve on that in 2014, and have the pieces to do so, but don’t expect it to run through only one person.
“I think everybody is going to surprise this year,” second-year head coach Julianna Berg said. “It’s such a huge change from last year and it’s a completely different team. You are going to see a lot of the same personnel, but they are different players, and I think it is going to catch a lot of people off guard. Everybody has their own way of coming in and having their moment.”
Amber Salow, Anna Wheeler and Sydney Hoffman were three of the top four players at getting kills for the Demons last season, and all three return to the team this season.
Hoffman and senior Lauren Swan were the two top servers last season for the Demons.
With the top players for Washington returning, there is a definite sense of optimism among the team.
“Every girl from ninth grade to seniors has come up to me and said that they are really excited to start the season,” Berg said. “We have high expectations and high hopes, and the No. 1 thing for me is they need to enjoy their experience. I don’t want it to become a burden and a drag, but we are putting in a lot of good work. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep the balance, but we are here to have fun.”
Going into 2014, Berg said she is anticipating some challenges, but right now, the team is looking good in practice.
“I don’t see a whole lot of huge glaring challenges yet,” Berg said. “Those will start to show themselves a bit, but with them putting in so much work in the offseason, it’s not like we have girls who are inexperienced. We have girls who have put in a lot of time at the gym and played against a lot of good competition, so they have a lot more experience than they did last year, so I don’t see them as being a young team.”
Hoffman, Wheeler and Swan are three of the senior leaders on the team, and Berg praised their leadership so far this season.
“These seniors have done a fantastic job,” Berg said. “They’ve stepped into their role and done a lot of things that I haven’t had to ask them to do. They make sure everybody has their phone numbers, and if someone has a question, they make sure to answer it. For the underclassmen, their first line of defense is the seniors. They’ll have every answer you’ll need, and they are really great at communicating with me as well.”
The Demons will open up their season on Aug. 30 in Grinnell.