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Warrensburg High volleyball team ready to set new course

The 2013 Warrensburg High School Varsity Volleyball Team includes (front, left to right):  Leah Terrell, Jayden Cain, Sydney Russell, Juliann Russell, Ashley Benz, (row 2): Angie Miller, Cierra Tyrell, Brandi Baker, Cheyenne Ovitt, (row 3): Bryana Engle, Josana Stone, Makayla Baker, and Kaylene Norton.
Photo by Thom Randall

The 2013 Warrensburg High School Varsity Volleyball Team includes (front, left to right): Leah Terrell, Jayden Cain, Sydney Russell, Juliann Russell, Ashley Benz, (row 2): Angie Miller, Cierra Tyrell, Brandi Baker, Cheyenne Ovitt, (row 3): Bryana Engle, Josana Stone, Makayla Baker, and Kaylene Norton. Photo by Thom Randall Photo by Thom Randall.

— Armed with a lineup of returning veterans, the Warrensburg High School Volley Team is poised to accomplish a turnaround, according to new Varsity coach Robin Mahler.

Returning players with considerable experience are Bryana Engle, Makayla Baker, Kaylene Norton, Cierra Tyrell, assisted by Cheyenne Ovitt and Josana Stone — all of whom had plenty of time on the court in 2012. Several of the players have logged court time in prior years also.

Also, the team has a new coach, Robin Mahler, who has been teaching modified volleyball at Warrensburg High School for six years, as well as 11 years of cheerleading beforehand. Just as important, Mahler is armed with a smile and a positive attitude that’s contagious.

In the 1990s, the Warrensburg volleyball team was annually a top contender for the Adirondack League title — but since then fell into a prolonged slump. During the last several years, the volleyball program was almost scrapped in school district budget cuts, despite the fact its’s a sport the players can enjoy with their peers for a lifetime.

The returning players had a rare taste of victory at the end of the 2012 season when they beat Corinth after 10 or so straight losses, a virtually identical replay of the 2011 season.

But regardless of the recent seasons’ win-loss tallies, the players focus on improving their skills, and enjoying their time together, Mahler said, noting the 2013 players are demonstrating a dedication to the sport and a spirit of teamwork.

Several on the squad, including 9th graders Leah Terrell, Angie Miller and Jayden Cain, have been sharpening their skills in summer volleyball competition, which is bound to raise the team’s level of play, Mahler said.

“They all have talent, whether they’re veteran players or 9th graders,” she said.

Two of the players, Seniors Makayla Baker and Josana Stone, have shown leadership and are serving as Mahler’s assistant coaches, helping run drills and sharing their knowledge with the other players, she said.

Stepping off the court at a practice this week, Stone said the team was enthusiastic about playing this season, win or lose.

“It’s definitely different this year,” she said. “And we’ll be trying our best.”

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