The Nantucket Whalers Volleyball Team, under Coach Andrew Viseli, has had a decent year so far with an overall record of 8-7 and a Cape and Islands league record of 6-2. With their most recent win qualifying them for the MIAA South sectional division III playoffs, the Lady Whalers are looking forward to more success down the road.
Senior Captain, Malkia Blake, stated that the season has been going well and there are a lot of positive things to take away from the season so far.
Blake noted that, “This season has been one of the best so far because I have had the opportunity to see my teammates grow into the awesome players they are now.” The overall team chemistry and team bond as a whole, is really reflected on the court this season as the girls have improved drastically and now has made a mark in just their 3rd year as a varsity sport. Due to the influx of young players joining the team, the team’s future looks really good.
Seventh-grader Chloe Moreno was highly praised by Captain Blake as she says, “Chloe is a star and she will go very far in the future and will serve as a great player in the years to come for Varsity team.” In the games so far, Blake noted that Junior Malika Phillip has really been good for the team for her constant hard work in all the games. When asked to sum up the season so far in one word, Blake said, “extraordinary.”
With the team seeing plenty of action over the past weeks, it has been a good run for the girls. On October 9, they defeated Sturgis West in straight sets by scores of 25-17, 25-14 and 25-14. Strong performances from sophomore Sarah Andersen with 17 aces and 21 assists combined with Anna Leary’s 17 digs and Malika Phillip’s 15 kills gave the Whalers a comfortable win. They also won their other league game on October 11 when they faced Cape Cod Tech which they won 3-0 in straight sets by scores of 25-23, 25-21 and 25-14.
In the past week, the Lady Whalers had a rough week losing all 4 games. On Monday’s match at Sandwich, after losing the first two sets (24-26 and 20-25), the Lady Whalers took the 3rd set (25-18) but then lost the 4th set (18-25) for the 3-1 match loss. On Tuesday, October 16, the team played league leaders and rival Sturgis East in a very exciting game where the girls lost 3-2. The Lady Whalers took the first 2 sets by scores (25-18 and 25-20) but, the Stormers had different plans as they won the next 3 sets (21-25, 24-26 and 16-18) to hand the Whalers a 2-3 loss. In a non-conference game on October 19, against Dennis Yarmouth, the improved girls took a 3-1 loss. To end the bad week, the Lady Whalers traveled to Sturgis East for the rematch on Saturday, October 20 where they took a 3-0 straight sets loss (20-25,22-25 and 19-25) as nothing went right for the girls in the game. However, there was much that was taken away from these games as they prepare for the rest of the season.
Andersen has been a standout player in all games this season. Her assists, which she has been doing all season along, driving the team forward with her offensive and defensive contributions.
Coach Andrew Viseli says that he has seen some major improvements in the team. He noted that “I see a team that came together as true volleyball players and how the team has a whole has improved in the understanding of the games.” Coach Viseli, also stressed how the upperclassmen interact with the JV team and it is something he admires. When asked how the future looks for Nantucket Volleyball, Coach Viseli says, “I feel very positive and we are headed in the right direction, setting the bar high for future volleyball players.” As earlier mentioned this season, The Lady Whalers team hopes to establish themselves in state play. Coach Viseli adds that his main goal for the seasons are to compete well and compete for the MIAA south championship title.
By Tajaun Francis