Freeport volleyball works on improved team chemistry
One day after the loss that ended their 68-match win streak in section play, members of Freeport's girls volleyball team gathered at practice and had what senior Lauren Frazetta described as a “heart-to-heart” discussion that lasted almost an hour.
The talk centered on team chemistry. And the Yellowjackets left satisfied with their resolutions.
“It was petty drama,” Frazetta said. “Just little stuff, like if a girl goes up to a girl and says, ‘Oh, you need to do this,' they'd take it the wrong way. So we just have to work on that. And we're getting better at it.”
Freeport (7-1) has not lost since its 3-1 setback at home against Section 4-AA leader Mars on Sept. 18. Some uncertainty remains among the Yellowjackets about their respective roles, as they look to contend for an eighth consecutive section title, a fourth straight WPIAL championship appearance and more.
“This team is loaded with talent, but I think we struggle a little bit with leadership,” coach Tom Phillips said. “The thing that I think we're struggling most with is the fact that when we get down, we need somebody to look for. We need somebody there to pick us up.”
Frazetta and fellow seniors Ashley Sample and Danika Durand know they're the most logical candidates. They're still refining their methodology.
“There's a lot of pressure,” Frazetta said. “Coach at every practice is like, ‘Leadership, leadership, leadership.' We're doing everything we can and trying so hard to be leaders for this team. There were three (seniors) last year, and I think it worked out extremely well. They were all amazing leaders.”
Phillips wants his players to determine who will deliver on the court in crunch time.
Between the three seniors and juniors Alexis Schrecengost, Megan Sweeny, Emily Toy and Brittney Bianco, there are plenty of experienced options.
Then there's freshman Zoe Pawlak, whose 5-foot-9 frame and involvement with USA Volleyball's Select High Performance program made her a known commodity before she started a varsity match.
“I definitely think it's a great opportunity for me to be getting set when it's a big game,” Pawlak said. “I think that it's all great moments. Just being with this team is great. I've been waiting for so long to be here.”
Freeport will travel to Mars on Oct. 11. It also has a rematch against Knoch, another serious section challenger, next week.
Tough tests approach. Are the Yellowjackets ready? Frazetta believes she found the answer when Freeport hosted and won its six-team tournament last week.
“We were like, ‘Freeport is back. We can do this,' ” Frazetta said. “We just need to play as a team and have fun. We weren't having fun.”
Phillips, meanwhile, will reserve judgment.
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-543-1303.