WYE MILLS – Chesapeake College is celebrating its renovated gymnasium with a rebooted women's volleyball program whose players are inexperienced but improving, according to first-year head coach Michelle Dennis.
"I can definitely tell we're getting better," said Dennis, who has 11 players on her all-freshman team. "There's been better passing and serving, and they're starting to understand the game. Now we're starting to scrimmage so we can work on our transition from offense to defense."
While most of the players on Dennis' squad played high school sports, only three of them played significant amounts of high school volleyball. Dennis expects those three – Easton High grads Sydney Butler and Montana Dye, and Colonel Richardson High's Courtney Stubbs – to lead the way for the less experienced Skipjacks.
"Those three are going to have to be my primary passers in serve-receive," said Dennis.
While Butler is an outside hitter, Dennis said she expects to use her daughter extensively at setter.
"I'm going to be using her at setter because we have so many inexperienced girls and Sydney's pretty quick," said Dennis.
Dennis said both Stubbs (right hitter) and Dye (left hitter) have also been impressive in practice.
"Courtney and Montana have been passing well and serving very well," said Dennis.
Two players from Chesapeake's Region XX championship women's basketball team – guard Carla Marfe and forward Jaelyn Brice – will be doing double-duty this year as first-year volleyball players. Six local freshmen – Colonel Richardson High grads Casey Mahon and Katie Worm, Easton High alum Kaitlyn Milligan, Cambridge-South Dorchester's Jackie Martinez, Kent Island High's Sydney Pollard, and home-schooled Vienna resident Casey Wroten – will also be contributing for the Skipjacks.
"I'm very happy with our team," said Dennis. "We have a lot of inexperienced players and this is definitely going to be a learning year for us, but I couldn't be happier with the turnout."
Dennis is being assisted this year by Brenda Kibler, who was Dennis' teammate at both North Caroline High and Rider University.
The Skipjacks open their season Wednesday with a 7 p.m. match at Anne Arundel Community College.