As the newest sport on campus, one might expect low participation on the volleyball team. In fact, the opposite is true, and TA's program is the largest in Maine with 64 players spread across four teams. Head coach Corey Huot '08 is in his second year of leading this fast-growing sport for the Trojans. Looking to improve on a development year this year, the team is currently 6-6 and is confident about chances for victories in the playoffs.
Coach Corey Huot '08 motivates his team between sets during a tournament.
We asked Coach Huot some questions about his team. Read on to learn more before attending their last home game on Thursday, October 17 at 6:30pm in Linnell Gymnasium.
What has your experience been like as head coach?
Entering my second year as the varsity coach, I was excited to see how'd we'd compete this season. We were an inexperienced team last season, and ended with a 1-13 record. However, ten players returned from that team, and we added six others that we were excited about. The team has been improving every week, and currently has a 6-6 record. I've learned a lot this season about the in-game adjustments that take place during matches. It's not easy to manage, but we always try and do what's best for the team.
What has been the best part about coaching the volleyball team?
With volleyball being a relatively new sport for high schools, it's been fun watching programs grow. The top programs have been around for 10-15 years, but there are numerous schools around the state of Maine that have started their own programs within the past 5 years. The Thornton Academy Volleyball program is the largest in Maine featuring four teams and 64 players.
Setter Olivia Howe and Defensive Specialist Molly Jacques practice serving before a recent match.
The varsity team's record is currently 6-6. What are your goals for the rest of the season?
We have two games left this season, one against Bonny Eagle and the other against Massabesic. As it stands, we're in 8th place and would host a playoff game against Bonny Eagle. Making playoffs is definitely one of our goals, but we're more focused on improving the consistency of our play. We can use these last two games as our last chance to fine tune a few things before playoffs.
Who are the leaders on the team? How do they contribute?
We have a few different leaders on the team who contribute in different ways. Our captains, Laura Fortier & Noelle Michaud have been great for us. Laura is our most experienced player, and Noelle has always been our emotional leader. We have players like Sarah Casey, Liv Howe, Kylie Lavallee who have experience playing on other varsity teams, and brings that mentality of what it takes to be successful. Lastly, there's players like Amelia Pellerin or Rachel Schofield who haven't gotten much playing time, but are always the loudest and most supportive girls on the bench. Qualities like that can't be coached, but are a part of what makes someone a great teammate.
What's your coaching philosophy?
To steal a line from Bill Belichick, my coaching philosophy is to just do what's best for the team. At practice, we run drills that maximize reps for our players. We want to try and get them as many touches as possible in practice. It's important to get the players to understand their role on the court because volleyball is so fluid. Everything runs better when the six players out there are working like a unit and everyone knows their responsibility.
What are some TAVB traditions?
As our program grows, I hope see more TAVB traditions develop. We have a few that we've picked up over the years. We have a "pink" game every October where we make our own pink jerseys and decorate the gym for breast cancer awareness. We've also incorporated traditions from other TA teams, such as singing the Alma Mater on the bus after road wins, and pasta parties.
Molly Jacques bumps the ball to set up for a Trojans' spike!