The Nantucket Whalers Volleyball Team has gotten off to a fast start in the 2018 season, acquiring the most successful record over the first four games that they have had in program history, winning 2 matches and losing 2. The program itself has onlybeen around since 2015, playing that season as a club team before they graduated to the varsity level. They have been playing as a full fledged varsity team since 2016, competing in the Cape and Islands League.
The team has really began to come into its own this year, with a large number of new players joining. Senior Luisa Taveras highlighted this and how it has affected the start to their season, saying “Our preseason was awesome because we had a large amount of new kids.”
The coaches took steps to make sure that they were given the opportunity to get used to playing with each other in various matches. Taveras said “We worked really hard in our preseason at some competitive matches like the beach volleyball tournament, which was awesome, as well as the Barnstable Play Day we competed at.”
The team has benefitted from the influx of new young players, as they have quickly proven themselves and improved the team. Sophomore Shara Anderson was specifically mentioned by Taveras, who had high praise, saying “She is the most impressive young player on the team. She works the hardest as our main setter and is the most inspiring player, really bringing our team together.”
There was still an initial settling in period for the team, dropping both of their first two non-conference games. In the first game, they hosted Durfee High School, who swept the Whalers, taking all 3 sets 25-17, 25-9, and 25-10. The next game, on September 11, was a hard fought defeat to Dennis-Yarmouth who took the sets 25-8, 25-21, 25-22.
However, the team showed their tenacity, and the hard work that they have put in during practice began to show itself in games, as they went on to win their next games in emphatic showings against Upper Cape Cod RVT, both home and away. The first game saw Nantucket put in a dominant home performance, taking the matches 25-16, 25-13, 25-15. They then traveled to UCCRVT, this time even better as they battered them 25-5, 25-12, 25-14.
Anderson, as well as Junior Captain Anita Dougan and Senior Malkia Blake were standout players from the games, driving the team forward on both the offensive and defensive sides of the game.
However, the team knows that there is still room for improvement, with Taveras referencing the positive mood of the squad and the progression they have shown in the past month. For this young promising team, there is a possibility of real rewards this year, as they hope to compete for the league title and establish themselves in tournament play.
By Emmet Clarke