Success starting with seniors’ approach

Sports Reporter

by Eric Oslund

Sports Reporter

Not a lot was expected from the Rogers volleyball team this season. They lost their star from a year ago, and there were a lot of uncertainties heading into the fall. But lone and behold, they have begun their season with a 7-1 record, which included a first-place finish in the Mound Westonka the weekend of Sept. 9.

Sam Orth (12), a senior, and Alexandra Johnson (6), a freshman, share a smile after the Royals score a point against Monticello. (Photo by Eric Oslund)

What’s the cause of the success? According to head coach T.J. Canham it’s team chemistry. It sounds like an easy answer, but when you look at their roster it’s something that’s a little more complicated than one might originally think.

They have girls ranging from 13 to 18 years old. There is often times a big difference in not only age, but maturity, interests, and a number of anything as high schools progress through those stages in life, so it can be hard to get them all to come together as easily as they have.

“Our senior leadership is as good as I’ve ever seen, and like I’ve said, I’ve had good leadership in the past, but these kids are phenomenal,” Canham said when asked how the chemistry has been able to form so well and so quickly.

There may not have been any better example of the senior leadership on the Royals volleyball team than after their game against Monticello Tuesday, Sept. 12. It was a close game throughout, which saw the Royals come out 3-2, winning the fifth set 15-9.

Both teams congratulated one another on a game well played afterwards, and then the Rogers seniors got to work. Instead of going over to the stands to celebrate with their family or friends, they began putting chairs away, taking the net down, and overall clean up of the gym.

“As a 13 year old, you can’t do anything but follow,” Canham said of moments like that. “They just go do their job, and they’re such great kids that you want to help them.”

This was not a rare occurrence, though, it’s been something that has been going on all season.

“One of my favorite stories from this year is, some teams at tournaments don’t understand that you’re supposed to help shag for other teams when they’re warming up,” the head coach recalled from their time at the Mound Westonka tournament. “Our kids are shagging on a different court that’s not even theirs because the other team is basically being disrespectful and not paying attention. They’ll just go over as a group and shag.”

Day after day, week after week, the seniors continue to go out and do the right thing. That, in turn, teaches all the younger players how to behave, which leads to them becoming closer as teammates out on the floor. And that, according to the team’s head coach, is what has led to their early success.