By Garth Shanklin
All good things must come to an end.
The impending merger of Amelia and Glen Este high schools means this fall season is the last chance to play for both schools’ sports teams, including Glen Este’s volleyball program.
The Lady Trojans posted an 8-14 record in the regular season, including a 4-10 mark in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference.
Head coach Sarah Ellis said the team’s season began well, though the ending wasn’t quite what she had hoped.
“I definitely think this group of girls got along a bit better than my team last year,” Ellis said. “We had good chemistry this year and got off to a better start as last year. We didn’t end quite as well as I would’ve liked, but they did well and played well together despite having two freshman on the team.”
Those two freshman were joined by several seniors, though only two had major roles on the team in 2015: Grace Madden and Zoe England.
“I only had two returning varsity starters out of the six seniors on the team,” Ellis said. “They took the freshman under their wing and did a great job for me in that role.”
Madden finished the season ninth in the conference, averaging 2.59 kills per game. She also tied for fourth with 49 aces on the season. Freshman Audrey Bard also stuffed the stat sheet, totaling 267 digs on the season, good for seventh in the conference.
Ellis said Bard’s growth from the beginning of the season was noticeable, especially as she began to familiarize herself with her teammates’ style of play.
“Bard started off the year not knowing the game as well being libero,” Ellis said. “[She did] not know how the girls’ hit. By the end of the year she was digging the ball from girls who were committed to Division I schools.”
Another player who showed marked improvement was Sophie Berger, who improved her defensive play despite not originally being slated to play all the way around.
The improvement helped the team win their sectional tournament opener. The Lady Trojans defeated Northwest 25-22, 20-25, 20-25, 25-17, 15-12. They did so without one of their best players, according to Ellis.
“We didn’t have [Bard], we didn’t have our libero,” Ellis said. “That really hurt us but they played so hard. They had the heart and wanted to win. They set their minds to it and they did it. It was awesome.“
The victory was one of several parts of the season Ellis said she enjoyed, despite it being the final year for the program.
“I think it was a fun season,” Ells said. “We had an alumni night to honor those former players and we had a good turnout on that. I would’ve liked to see a bit better record in the ECC, but these girls played really hard with a lot of heart. If you’re going to go out with a lot of heart, you couldn’t ask for anything more than that.”