Welsh leads Weston to 4-1 start
The Weston girls volleyball team raised its record to 4-1 on Monday with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-7) home victory over Oxford (3-0). Senior captain Christina Welsh led Weston with 12 service points and 14 kills. Sophomore Hannah Ashmore (12 service points, four kills), senior Sammy Fino (eight service points, four digs), juniors Jessy Gersh (seven service points, 13 assists) and Lili Clement (two kills, four digs, five service points) and sophomores Savannah Carpenter (two kills, one block) and Fran Holmes (two kills) also contributed.
"I was happy with the girls tonight," Lady Trojans Coach Jamie Charles said. " We came out a little sluggish in the first game and got rattled by some of Oxford's tough serves, but I was very pleased with how the girls came out ready to play tough for the second and third games."
Weston has overcome a lot in its march to 4-1, starting with giving its new players experience and overcoming a key injury to senior captain setter Maggie Montelli. Montelli tore ligaments in her foot in April and although she healed before the season started, her old injury got exacerbated when she turned her ankle during a preseason practice.
"It was very tough because I was excited for the season," Montelli said. "Everyone has a position to play for the team whether your playing or not and I tried to be there for them. I missed playing with them and I was eager to get back on the court."
Montelli returned on Monday and played sparingly as Charles is trying to bring her back slowly in preparation for the big, late-season push.
"I think Maggie's return will help us because of her leadership ability," Welsh said.
Despite the 4-1 record, the Lady Trojans know there is room for improvement.
"We've been working each day on being more consistent and more aggressive on the court, and it seems that each day we get a little better, especially the players that aren't used to playing at the varsity level," Charles said. " Fran Holmes and Savannah Carpenter have really improved a lot, and Jessy Gersh is working very hard as the setter. Maggie Montelli is now starting to play again after an ankle injury. And then we have a handful with experience from last year that are working very hard: Christina Welsh, Lili Clement, Hannah Ashmore, Sammy Fino and [senior lefty] Haylee Winikoff."
Welsh said, "We're still trying to work out some kinks because we have so many new players and we've been inconsistent at times. We're trying to be consistent and work to play our best game. We've been impressed with a lot of the underclassmen who have stepped in, such as Savannah Carpenter, Fran Holmes and Sam Fino. Jessy has improved so much and is definitely fulfilling her role."
One player who has been a rock of stability for Weston is Welsh, who is a three-year varsity player.
"Experienced players compliment the newer players well on the court," Charles said. "Solid servers this year, as well as pretty consistent serve receive. Christina Welsh has been a true asset in every position on the court and is very reliable and tough. We've been working on improving our aggressiveness and ability to anticipate, especially on the defensive end."
Although the team lacks experience, it has the right attitude.
"I couldn't be more proud with how the girls are pulling together," Montelli said. "We're a young team and one of our tasks is to mature on and off the court. I'm happy with how we've accomplished this and I expect big things from us."
The Lady Trojans have expectations and are confident they can meet them.
"Once we iron out some of our positions, we'll be unstoppable," Welsh said. "We hope to win SWCs."
Montelli said, "We hope to add a banner to our gym and be SWC champs."
Weston knows it has to be sharp in all aspects of the game in order to do so.
"We focus a lot more on mental preparation than in previous years and we want to be mentally ready for our game," Welsh said.