“Last year was a rough season for us,” admitted Elk Lake head volleyball coach Bo Bushnell. “We had a lot of guys who were inexperienced and new to the sport. This year, though, we have a little more experience and are better heading into the season.”
The Warriors were winless in their 2018 campaign.
Entering his fourth year, Coach Bushnell will have a senior heavy team- there are eight upperclassman on the opening day roster- on the floor.
Though the Warriors lost two senior starters, they retain four starters and a bench with six guys who logged varsity time last season.
This season, Elk Lake focused on strength and conditioning as well as live game situations in the off season. Since official practices have begun, the team is trying out some new formations, and working on rotations and “lots of passing,” according to the coach, who also wore the green-and-white in his high school days.
“We are hoping to get a few wins this season, we have struggles the past couple of years and we would like to change that. I like the way we look,” said Bushnell.
Bushnell, along with assistant coach Mary Berg, know that the team needs to have at least a .500 record in the season to qualify for the postseason.
The Warriors boast a team filled with athleticism and height, two things the coach feels have been missing in previous seasons. And though the team is struggling to still get a feel for the game, the upperclassmen are leading the charge in getting their new teammates acclimated.
This year’s squad will benefit from the leadership of senior captains Dylan Fernald, Ben Hoal, and Matt Voda.
Bushnell, who was a setter on the Keystone College team, cites the last home game of the year, against Susquehanna, as the marquee game of the season. “That will be a real good matchup,” he said.
Fernald, who is headed to RIT this fall for computer programming, said of his team, “We are a lot more prepared this season, All the guys that were new, in their first year last year, now have the experience needed to move on. We have good chemistry, a good flow, and we all are getting along. We are out to win games.”
“I just want them all to take away competitiveness and leadership when they leave this program,” concluded Bushnell.
The Warriors play their games in the Elk Lake Elementary School gym and begin their season at home on March 26 against Western Wayne. The Wildcats finished with a 4-8 record last season.
Roster: Seniors Dylan Fernald, Dominick Filer, Ben Hoal, Jake Kelley, David Lamoreaux, Nate Preston, Nick Smith, and Matt Voda. Juniors Mitchell Schwarztrauber and Riley Teel. Sophomores Riley Baker, Ashtin Bunnell, Jared Ely, Jon Forster, Casey Kajola, Omar Lopez, Caden Martin, Zachary Shields, and George Sobeck. Freshmen Terrence Brozonis and Nathan Warriner.
Schedule: Mar. 26 vs. Western Wayne; Mar. 28 at Blue Ridge; Apr. 2 vs. Mountain View; Apr. 4 vs. Abington Heights; Apr. 9 vs. Forest City; Apr. 11 at Susquehanna; Apr. 18 at Western Wayne; Apr. 23 vs. Blue Ridge; Apr. 25 at Mountain View; Apr. 30 at Abington Heights; May 2
at Forest City; May 7 vs. Susquehanna. All games begin at 5 p.m.