Chemistry good mix for Danville volleyball
WESTVILLE — Danville High School's volleyball program may not have turned the corner, but it has at least arrived at that significant destination.
The Vikings rallied from a one-set deficit Wednesday to open their season with a 24-26, 25-21, 25-14 nonconference triumph against Westville.
"We have several rungs left on the ladder to climb," Danville coach Cathy Wenthe said. "It's a work in progress."
Throughout the opener, progress was in evidence.
"We were moving our feet better and playing together," setter Jordan Ogle said. "The intensity level was brought up."
Volleyball hasn't been the marquee sport in the Danville girls' athletic program. In the 38 years it has been offered, there have been three winning seasons. The last six years have all ended with sub-.500 records.
And yet, Ogle didn't sense an underdog feeling as the Vikings took the court against Westville.
"We came out expecting to win," she said.
Though there is no one on the varsity who played club ball last winter, the confidence stems from the success seniors Ogle (softball), Kaitlin Baxter (softball) and Alexus Jimson-Miller (track) have had in other sports.
"I like the chemistry," said Wenthe, who had six seniors in her starting rotation of seven players.
Ogle is the most experienced of the veterans; the only one playing the same position she did a year ago.
Jimson-Miller was an outside hitter in 2011, when the middle-hitting positions were filled by athletes now playing in college. Though she lacks the height, Jimson-Miller used her jumping ability to smash a match-high 10 kills.
Ogle handed out 25 assists.
Wenthe liked the outcome of the team's first match but said Ogle "has to step it up more. She has to make her team more accountable. She has to run the team; be everything."
Alyia Wilson had seven kills and Michaela Jones four for Danville.
Westville dropped to 0-3, but coach Allen Greenlee said his youthful squad, which had three freshmen contributing, is developing.
"We kept our concentration a lot better and played a lot harder," he said, evaluating the Wednesday match against the Tigers' previous two outings. "We're learning."
Freshman Adrianne Pate finished off the first- set comeback for the Tigers, serving the final three points. The clincher was on an ace.
Team leaders were Mariah Rolinitis (18 digs), Kaitie Shaw (nine kills) and Lauren Barthalow (nine kills, three blocks and two aces).