COVENTRY TWP. There’s a lot to be said for knowing what you have.
After tryouts early last week, Anna Kimevski and the rest of the Coventry volleyball team finally know what their roster will look like and who will be playing alongside them this fall. Tryouts took place Aug. 1 and the start of practices followed the next day, launching the Comets into what they hope will be a second consecutive winning campaign.
“The first couple of days were really focused on getting our conditioning in and being in shape for the season,” Kimevski said. “We work our conditioning into drills so we keep our skills getting better for games.”
One of the faces helping head coach Breanna Caslow and her staff get the Comets in top shape is Devon McAfee, who coaches football, boys basketball and track at the school, but is also working with the volleyball team before the season on conditioning.
McAfee, who serves as the high school’s teacher in charge of students who are serving in-school suspensions, was a known face for Kimevski - not for ever having any kind of disciplinary issues, she noted with a laugh - but not for many other volleyball players.
Through his work with the team and the drills and sprints through which Caslow and her assistant coaches have put the team, it quickly became clear who had done their work and kept in shape during the offseason and who hadn’t put in the time, according to Kimevski.
“You can tell who’s been to open gym, who’s been doing the workouts when he gave to us and who’s been pushing themselves,” Kimevski said.
With tryouts in the rearview mirror, the senior hitter is excited to be able to focus on learning a new position and gelling with teammates old and new. Part of the team’s conditioning program is running the mile in under eight minutes, which Kimevski admits is one of her least favorite parts of the process.
Anyone who doesn’t make the eight-minute mark for tryouts has to keep running the mile on the school’s track until they can reach that standard. Doing sprints in the gym is another way to boost cardiovascular conditioning and the first 20-30 minutes of each practice session so far have been devoted to running, sweating and repeating, all in the name of not getting tired when games start and the Comets find themselves needing to dig deep for a win in the fifth set of a close match.
Kimevski is also excited about a change in position after playing the libero - defensive specialist - role as a junior. Not long ago, the coaching staff confirmed that she would get to move to a new position, one to which she’s been aspiring for a while now.
“I’m focused on settling in as a hitter after being a libero last year and now I can focus on a totally different position,” Kimevski said. “I’ve known I was going to be a hitter for almost a month and I was happy about it because I’ve wanted to be a hitter for a while, but I’m really short so I knew I might not get to do it.”
Height aside, her experience and court savvy should provided Kimevski with a chance to succeed in her new role. An offseason of work is winding down, classes will begin soon and it will be back to the normal schedule of classes followed by games or practices.
Now that the roster is mostly set, it’s a time to turn the focus to working with the pieces in place and developing the cohesion and chemistry it will take to repeat the winning mark of last season and chase an even high win total this time around. If knowledge truly is power, then Kimevski and her teammates have an added boost as they make the turn and head down the homestretch of the offseason.
Games will begin soon enough and when they do, knowledge will have to meet execution in order to keep the ball rolling.
Reach Andy at 330-580-8936
On Twitter: @aharrisBURB