The Rams look to improve on a volleyball court with a young team | Every day

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STRASBOURG — Strasbourg volleyball coach Suzanne Mathias-Carter is trying to keep expectations a little lower this season with a very young squad.

Mathias-Carter said she just wants her team to improve and work together.

“I just want them to work as a whole unit and trust each other on the pitch,” Mathias-Carter said. “I guess that’s kind of my goal for them, is to become the unit of the team, to support each other and to work hard non-stop. And then, I hope for good things in will come out and do good things on the pitch.”

The Rams have only two seniors, hitters Kenley Smith and Madi Stinnette. Smith led the Rams with 76 kills and 12 blocks last season. Stinnette had 35 digs, seven service aces and one block last season.

Smith said she and Stinnette tried to be good leaders for the young team.

“Me and Madi have been playing together since we both played on JV in our eighth year,” Smith said. “And we both try to help everybody show them how it works by playing at a higher level. And we go out and help everybody.”

The Rams have other key comebacks this season. Junior Hannah Kepler had nine blocks for the Rams last season. Junior Reese Moxley had seven service aces and 19 digs last season.

Mathias-Carter said junior Megan Martin, who had 16 assists last season, and rookie Carley Jenkins will split the setting duties.

“Megan is coming back as a setter, so I expect her to do the majority of that,” Mathias-Carter said. “And she and Carley kind of team up there and tackle the decorator role.”

The Rams have a lot of new faces, and Stinnette said they did a good job in early-season practice.

“I think there’s a lot of potential in a lot of subclasses,” Stinnette said. “So it’s exciting to see, because when Kenley and I graduate, they can go back to the program. So it’s exciting.”

Mathias-Carter said it was a big help to have two good leaders in Smith and Stinnette.

“Kenley and Madi, they stepped in and kind of took on the leadership role from the start, which is nice to see from them,” Mathias-Carter said. “I say what I want to do and they kind of take it, and make sure the younger ones do what they need to do. They bring them together, talk to them in the group or they’re talking to them non-stop on the So these two are definitely doing what they need to do as leaders, which is a good thing.

Smith said the team chemistry within the squad has been good so far.

“We all work really well together,” Smith said. “And we all like each other, so that’s a big help. We all like each other, and it’s a good environment to be in.”

Strasbourg, who won just one contest last season, host Warren County on August 24 to start this season.

Stinnette said his goal for the team this year is simply to improve.

“Obviously we want to beat Central and win these types of games – rival games,” Stinnette said. “But I just want to improve. I just want to see the difference between the start and the end of the season. That’s my goal for the team – I just want to see the improvement.”

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