(Sept. 6, 2019) Cheryl Brown started last season as the assistant coach of the Worcester Prep varsity volleyball team, but six matches in she took over as head coach. She will lead the program again this year.
“As head coach for this year I just really want the girls to have a passion and love for the game just as much as I do. I just really want them to love it,” Brown said. “Watching them smile out on the court is really my main objective. I want them to want to be here every day.”
The girls are also excited to have Brown as their head coach this season.
“It’s been so much fun,” said senior captain Kathryn Marini. “She really brings a different vibe to the team. She makes it about having fun and playing for yourself and for the people around you more than it being about competition.”
Joining her as captains are seniors Sami Repass and Jenna Elrick. All three have been on the varsity team for two years.
“I think we have a very good and strong group of captains this year. We’re a very close-knit group and we’re very close friends the three of us so I think that’s awesome and that’s helping us come together as a leadership rather than being separate people and separate vibes… it’s allowing us to be able to be all in all the time,” Elrick said.
“[It’s] a lot of responsibility, but I’m up for the challenge and I love the girls so I hope to just keep the positive attitude and help them with anything they need,” Repass added. “I’m all about constructive criticism and if we can help each other to get better that will help improve the team.”
Of the nine players on Brown’s roster, six were on the varsity team last year, which finished with a 2-12 record. The Lady Mallards’ season ended with a loss in the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference semifinals.
Despite only winning a few matches, Brown said the girls improved and learned throughout the season.
Junior Maddy Warren is also back to compete. She earned All-Conference honorable mention accolades for her performance last season. Junior CC Lizas returns as well and will take the court as a setter.
Brown is pleased with what she has seen from her players during preseason.
“I just want them to continue to push through with their stamina, because we’re at a good high with the start of the season. I want to stay high and keep that momentum going forward,” she said.
The girls are also committed, Brown added.
“These girls have come hard every single day to practice starting Aug. 14, so commitment for sure is a huge strength of ours,” she said.
“Everyone is trying so hard and is putting their best effort in,” Repass added.
After the Aug. 24 playday in Snow Hill, Brown met with each player to discuss what they were successful at and what they need to improve upon.
“They recognize their strengths and weaknesses,” she said. “They know what they’re good at and what they need to work on.”
Brown actually gave each player a sticky note with their highlights from the playday. She encouraged them to put that note in their journals, which she provided for them at the start of the season.
“I believe strongly in personal development. I encourage them to write in their journals daily,” she said.
Worcester’s first match is today, Friday, against Sussex Academy at 5 p.m. in Berlin.
“Last year was a good building year for us,” Elrick said. “Almost all of us are coming back for our second year on varsity. We’re building on what happened last year and overall, were coming together really well.”
Repass said some of the goals this year are to win more games, be comfortable together on and off the court and be more of a family.
“We’re a close-knit team,” Marini added. “We do stuff outside school too, which helps us.”