Carson High senior hitter Shannen von Duering goes up for a kill Tuesday against Bishop Manogue.
Jeff Mulvihill, Jr. | InstaImage
The Carson High volleyball senior captains knew this season was going to feature some changes.
Longtime Senator head volleyball coach Robert Maw stepped away over the summer, being replaced by multi-year assistant and Carson High graduate Brittany Witter.
Witter’s first major adjustment for the team was changing the formation, switching to a 5-1 instead of a 6-2, which Carson had been running under Maw.
The biggest difference in the two formations is the consistency of the setter position, as the 5-1 relies mainly on one setter throughout the contest.
Traditionally, a 6-2 rotates two setters – forcing hitters to adjust to different sets from different individuals.
“I really like it,” said senior captain and setter Olivia Smith. “I always run a 5-1 in club. I like to be selfish with court time. I like to earn it.”
As a hitter up front, fellow captain Shannen von Duering relayed a similar message.
“It’s less chaos. It’s a lot easier on everybody because we know who is setting and where they are going to be,” said von Duering.
The emphasis has switched from feeding hitters to covering hitters as the Senators battled with defending regional champs Bishop Manogue to open the season at home.
Despite falling 3-0 to a Miner team loaded with collegiate talent, the Senators think smarter placement will be the key to success as the season continues.
“Last year was a big hitting team. This year we have to be a lot smarter and place it,” said Smith. “We have to play it somewhere where they are not.”
(Olivia Smith sets a ball against Bishop Manogue Tuesday night
Credit: Jeff Mulvihill, Jr. | InstaImage)Finding their groove
Four Carson High volleyball players from last year’s team went on to play collegiate volleyball.
Power hitter Cami Larkin is headed to Division I George Mason while hitter Emily Bell and libero Camille Kordonowy also continued their volleyball careers at Santa Monica College and Southern Nevada College, respectively.
Quinn Pulver also took her on-court talents to Whitman College to continue her volleyball career.
With a little bit of size missing up front, Carson’s hitters had to adjust quickly to a long, athletic Manogue team.
“I think the nerves got to us,” said senior Grace Turner. “They are a big team and tall. Next time we can do a lot better of not being nervous, but they played a good game.”
The senior captains have had a leadership example set for them in their new head coach.
Witter not only has taken a new job within the district, but she is also raising a young family at home.
“I am really proud of her because she has two young babies at home and with COVID, the smoke and all of us new players. She is doing a really great job,” said Turner. “It shows how much she cares about us.”
Witter said prior to the season that she felt this was the perfect group to take over.
As the season kicks off for the Senators, her players agree.
“I’m excited that she’s coaching,” said von Duering. “I’m just happy she was my first coach and now I get to end with her.”