Log College Volleyball Continues to Roll
The Colonial Soldiers continued their fourth consecutive undefeated season with a victory over Richboro Middle School.
Winning matches has quickly become old hat for the Log College Middle School Volleyball team. The Colonial Soldiers made quick work of Richboro Middle School, winning the contest in two sets at home Wednesday afternoon. The Soldiers defeated the Raiders by scores of 25-12 and 25-13 to take the best of three match and move to 8-0 on the season.
What’s more impressive is the win was the 43rd consecutive match victory for Log College, a streak that has spanned three consecutive undefeated seasons in 2008, 2009, and 2010. The Soldiers have to go 3-0 in their remaining matches in order to ensure yet another perfect season.
Head Coach Tom Boyle said there is no real secret to his team’s sustained success, and he offered a simple explanation of why his team continues to win matches. “For the last four years we have been the best serving team out there,” he said. “We’ve had a couple girls come in knowing how to serve, and then we’ve been able to work in the other girls. We would win games and not have a bad serve the entire game. We serve the lights out.”
The Soldiers service game was certainly on display Wednesday, as they constantly went on runs and held serve against the Raiders. Log took the first set 25-12 after a fast serve forced a Richboro player to hit the return wide.
In the second set, the Soldiers strong service game was book-ended by Alexandria Koppany, who got Log off to a 5-1 start thanks to some strong serving. Once the set got closer at 14-9, the Soldiers ripped off a 6-0 run thanks to the serving of Cady Weir, who helped Log build a 20-9 lead.
After the Raiders called a timeout to try to halt Soldiers’ momentum, Log won serve again leading 21-11. Koppany once again led a run, as Log built up a 24-11 lead. The Raiders did score two straight points to cut the deficit, but a hard shot from Log’s Teresa Barker was unable to be returned, clinching the 43rd consecutive victory for the Colonial Soldiers.
While Boyle has had the benefit of having a few experienced volleyball players—some of his players have previously played on C.Y.O or club teams—come his way, he said that around 90 percent of the team members are just learning the game of volleyball for the first time. Boyle said this can also work to his advantage because he and his assistant, Chris Zobel, are able to teach players with a clean slate rather than having to un-teach bad habits.
“We get to teach them from scratch which is good, because we can teach them all the good basics,” he said. “It’s like if you a bad baseball swing. They’ve been doing it for years, and by the time they’re in 8th grade, how do you fix that? Whereas, we get them [when] they’re fresh and they don’t know how to do anything.”
Since the players can only play on the team for 7th and 8th grade, the work Boyle, who is in his eighth year, and Zobel have done is even more impressive once you realize that the team has still remained undefeated with a completely new set of players. Boyle said they have been fortunate to have a few key players come on at the right times.
“[The talent] has been staggered,” he said. “We had a couple girls that were really strong when they were in 7th grade. They played for two years, and as soon as they moved up to high school, we had another core of three girls that were really strong. They just picked up right where the other group left off, and they were able to carry it through. It’s almost coincidental at that stage.”
The middle school volleyball teams are technically co-ed since there is no boy’s team at the middle school level, but most of the teams throughout the league are comprised mostly of girls. The Soldiers do have one boy on the team, but he has been out due to injury.
Boyle gave a lot of credit for the team’s success to Zobel, who was originally the team’s head coach when Boyle first came on as an assistant. Boyle said that they both agreed to switch roles, because he felt he was better at game-planning and strategizing, while she, a retired gym teacher, was better at running the players through drills.
“I was more into the game part of it, and [Zobel] was more into the skill part of it,” he said. “It seemed like it was a better fit. [Zobel] is the best at getting a mass amount of kids to do everything the way she wants them to do it.”
Zobel said she is also very comfortable in her role as the skill instructor. “It works nicely this way,” she said.
Boyle also has a brother who played and coached at the varsity high school level, and he said having that connection certainly helps him get better as a coach. “I always watched him to see what he does,” he said. “I’d pick his brain, [like] ‘I need help on passing, what should I do?’ He’d give me drills and that kind of thing.”
Boyle looks to keep his team rolling when the Soldiers take on Armstrong Middle School at home Friday afternoon. After that, they wrap up their season with two road contests at Charles H. Boehm Middle School and at district rival Klinger Middle.
In order to reach their fourth straight undefeated season, Boyle says his team needs to make sure they stay focused on their volleying, because they can’t always rely on their excellent service skills.
“The challenge is because we’ve always been a good serving team we kind of get lazy on the court, and when a team does return it, we have to be ready for it,” he said. “We kind of get lulled to sleep watching the serves, and we do want to promote some volleys here and there.”