No one can reliably predict just how many games the Mashpee High School volleyball team will win during its inaugural season. Regardless of what the record ends up being, the Falcons are certainly primed to give an exuberant effort and enjoy their first go-round as a varsity program.
Promoted from club level status to full MIAA participant this year, the Falcons will be led by coach Kaleigh Greene, a newcomer to the Mashpee school system. She works in the athletics department at MHS as an athletic administrative assistant.
Greene grew up playing volleyball in Cranston, Rhode Island, and played high school at Cranston East High. She went on to play club volleyball at UMass and began coaching while in college as well, serving as a middle school coach in Amherst. She spent the last four years as a junior varsity coach at Holliston High School before moving to Mashpee this past fall.
Greene said that the fledgling program will have its share of growing pains, but that she’s excited to see the squad develop over the course of the abbreviated season, which begins with a home match against Abington High School on Wednesday, March 10, at the Bock Gymnasium. “It’s going to be a really awesome year. They’re all really excited to learn the game, and they want to be coached. As a coach, you can’t ask for more than that. They’re improving; you can see it. Even since (the start of the preseason) last Monday you can see how much they’ve learned and gotten better,” she said.
With a group that wants to be in the gym as much as possible to work on its craft, the volleyball team’s biggest issue has been not having as much time as it wants to do that. Having been moved from a fall sport this year to the temporary Fall 2 season has meant that volleyball is not the only team that needs the indoor space. The football and track and field teams also are vying for indoor time.
“The girls are coming every day ready to learn...it makes your coaching job easier when they’re excited and want to learn the game,” Greene said.
With a new program and a roster with zero varsity volleyball experience, the Falcons’ new coach said that she wants to maximize playing time opportunities for her entire varsity roster. For the seniors, that will allow them to leave with great memories of competing, and for the juniors and sophomores, it will be that, plus experience toward next season when the season is played out on a full schedule.
The senior class at Mashpee High has some strong athletes who will make an impact for the team this year. Maggie Connolly, who is also a standout with the girls’ basketball and softball teams at MHS, will be a versatile player. She will be one of the leading front row players and also do some setting for the Falcons. Kelsi Colver will be an outside hitter for MHS, while Clara Signs will see time as a middle hitter and also play the right side. That is a role that senior Taylor Lacava will also fill for MHS, seeing time at both middle hitter and on the right.
Four juniors are also on the roster for MHS. Cheyenne Hendricks will be the top setter for the Falcons as she has impressed coach Greene with her ability to read the court and move the ball. Olivia Oliveira, who at present is the only player for the Falcons that has AAU club experience, will serve as the libero. She is a strong passer and will chase down whatever she can get to.
Paige Lacava is slated for a middle hitter position. Julia Tenore will see time outside and on defense for the Falcons.
The Falcons will have three sophomores on the varsity roster this year as well. Tristan Walker is a defender that will help keep the ball off of the floor. Anaquhsess Pocknett and Paris Hendricks, both of whom played varsity basketball this past winter, are both capable hitters of the ball. Pocknett is slated to play the middle for MHS while Hendricks is an outside hitter.
With the season approaching quickly, Greene has realistic and reachable goals for the Falcons.
“To me, a successful year is measured by how much we improve. It will take some time to build it up and get it to a higher level, but how we can measure success is by how far we come over the year.”