FHC’s volleyball season had an abrupt ending when Lowell came back from two sets down to shock the Rangers.
This season was not a failure however. FHC finished 27-11-1 and won the OK White Conference outright. It was the first team that head coach Lauren Heinz has ever coached to win their conference.
At the beginning of the season, the team looked strong. With returning players like seniors Reese Weslow, Emily Wiltz, and Bri Tilton, the Rangers were poised for a special season. More key players on the team were juniors Kendall Gardner and Audrey Tubbs and sophomore Katrina Bodkins.
What made this team special was its ability to get along with one another and play to each other’s strengths.
“We had a group of girls that worked really well together,” Heinz said. “We had a couple of big power hitters with Reese and Kendall. They were able to get the job done for us offensively. Our defense also did a great job; we had a lot of girls that were really scrappy and disciplined. We just worked well together as a team.”
As well as they played together, Heinz said their communication improved throughout the season. By the end of the year, everyone knew their role and did the best they could at filling their responsibility.
“We improved our ability to play together,” Heinz said. “They did a good job of working as a unit and not as individuals. They got a sense for how they played around each other and understood what each player needed from the other.”
Throughout the season, the Rangers dominated nearly every team they played. The only loss they suffered in the regular season came from the rival Huskies.
“My favorite part of the season was when we beat Forest Hills Northern,” Reese said. “They were our only loss in the regular season, so we definitely wanted to beat them the second time around.”
The end of the season came when FHC suffered a tough loss to Lowell. They led by two sets before losing three straight. Bri, Kendall, and Reese were all named to the OK White All-Conference team.
For all of the seniors on this team, they played their last volleyball game for FHC. Reese said that she will miss playing with her senior teammates the most.
“I will miss playing with the seniors,” Reese said. “I’ve been playing with some of them since sixth and seventh grade. I will miss playing with them.”
Heinz said that she will remember this team because it was her first to win a conference championship.
“I’ll remember that we won the conference,” Heinz said. “It was the first time that I’d done that as a varsity coach, so it was kind of nice.¨
This was one of the stronger volleyball teams FHC has had. They had great senior leadership, strong underclassman that filled their roles, and they all worked together towards one goal. This volleyball team will be remembered by parents, students, and faculty for a long time.
As we look ahead to next year, Reese thinks the team will be just fine.
“We’re still going to have some of our strong hitters like Kendall,” Reese said. “Our middles, Katrina and Emma, both return. I think they’ll do pretty well next year.¨