Young Volleyball Team Headed in the Right Direction

By Bob York

The Big Green appeared to spike the sneakers of its first five opponents to the gymnasium floor this past season, as it breezed to a 5-0 record and found itself well on its way to an invitation to the New England Prep School Girls Volleyball Championships.

By the time Deerfield crew hit postseason play, however, it had won just two of its remaining eight games to finish at 7-6, giving it a sixth seed in the tourney, where third-seeded St. Paul’s ousted the Big Green in first round play, 3-0.

“We went into the season with a very young and inexperienced team,” explained rookie coach John Pineo, “but that 5-0 start allowed the kids to realize that we could be a competitive team.”

And so, while Worcester and Hotchkiss were bested by 3-2 scores, and Williston and Loomis were chased by 3-1 margins and Hopkins was blanked, 3-0, Deerfield was fast becoming the new kid on the block while knocking everybody’s block off.

“We’d made some of those kinds of mistakes that young and inexperienced teams make as we went along,” said Pineo, “but I felt we learned from those mistakes … and that’s important.”

It wasn’t as if the entire team needed nametags to identify each other, however. As Pineo pointed out, his two co-captains: Marly Morgus ’12 and Hannah Insuik ’13 were two of the best around. Insuik, an outside hitter, earned a berth on the Boston Globe All-Scholastic Team, while Morgus, a setter, won the Coaches Award. The dynamic duo then added to its postseason plaudits by joining teammate Ashley So ’13 in this fall’s Western New England Prep School Girls Volleyball All-Star contest.

“They were the glue that helped keep this team together,” said Pineo. “They took the younger kids under their wings and served as coaches out on the court. They were simply immense as players and as leaders.”

Some of the younger players whom the Big Green’s Big Three helped bring along were Lizzie Jeffrey ’13 and Tan Sertthin ’13, as well as Kate Ginna ’14, Claire Collins ’15, and Kemi Akande ’15.

“We’ll be losing a tremendous player and team leader in Marly Morgus,” said Pineo. “On the bright side, however, we’ll be returning nine players who took their lumps this year, but who learned a great deal from their experience.

“I’m excited about next year,” added Pineo. “With the talent we have returning, I think this program is going to continue to grow in the right direction.”

Tri-captains for next year’s team will be Insuik, Jeffrey, and So.