Tonawanda girls volleyball receives clean slate in 2013
When Renee Smith walked into the George H. Miller Gym for her first day with the Tonawanda Lady Warriors varsity volleyball team she had so much on her mind to tell her girls.
But the most important thing Smith wanted every girl to know was that they all had a clean slate — a fair chance to prove themselves.
“I told them I love you all, but I’m going to base this off of your skill,” Smith said.
Smith, who had previously coached the Warriors junior varsity team, has now taken over the varsity squad after former coach Lindsay Garbacz stepped down for family reasons.
Smith said that without question having a relationship with players from their JV days is a plus in that they know her tendencies and what she expects.
“I think it’s great because they already know my coaching style and I already know their learning style,” Smith said. “I think that we’ve already built that bond that a coach and player(s) need to establish.”
But while that familiarity is nice, Smith wanted the girls to know she wasn’t playing favorites or holding anything against any girl based on good or bad play in the past. It was a fresh start for every girl.
Smith has tried to provide every girl peace of mind and the confidence to do her best when they walked into the gym for tryouts.
“Renee didn’t just take the girls that she knew could play. She made everybody prove themselves,” Haley Snyder said. “So that gave everybody who wanted to try out before (but didn’t) an equal opportunity.”
Snyder said that while the girls will certainly miss Garbacz, having a familiar face like Smith calling the shots means there isn’t a radical change in systems or a new philosophy to get used to.
Leading the way for the Warriors will be varsity returnees Alyssa LoGrasso as defensive specialist and Carly Morris (setter).
Haley Snyder, Ciara Woodin (middle), Rachael Warthling (outside hitter), Bailey Marcotte (outside hitter) and eighth grader Maria Garbo (libero) are all up from the junior varsity and should find their way into the starting lineup early on.
Cheyenne Brodrick, a middle, who is brand new to the sport, has had an impressive enough camp to potentially earn some starts.
Smith said what has her the most optimistic about the year has been the heart and character every girl has shown. No matter what drill they work on, every player has stuck with it until she learns what’s being taught.
“Everybody seems like they wanted to be there and everybody was working hard the first practice,” said Snyder. “We all know that we’re all on varsity now and we’ve got to pick it up and we want to have a successful season.”
Mollie Haas, Amanda Przybyl, Kayla Jankowski, Ellie Clark, Alex Zorechak, Christianah Rodriquez, Arielle Lovegrove and Allison Wozniak complete Tonawanda’s varsity lineup.