VOLLEYBALL: Transition to new coach contributes to struggle




The girls varsity volleyball season is coming to an end tonight as the Tigers record currently stands at 6-7.

This season was different compared to the last few years as the volleyball program hired four-year Granite Bay alumnus and NCAA DII volleyball player, Travis Vincenzini. Vincenzini had high expectations going into the season, as it was his first coaching position of a girls team. But he fell short of the team’s goal.

Senior libero Paris Harwell felt having to adapt to the changes of a new coach faced a challenge too strong for the tight bond of the team to overcome.

“Having so many new things like coaches, rotations, and positions — it was just really hard to come out on top and get those wins when we were such a new team andhad so much more to learn,” Harwell said.

Harwell has played volleyball all four years of her high school career, and has had the opportunity to be coached by Cindy Simon for three of the four years.

Harwell liked the connection built between Simon and the team from previous years and felt that relationship was something the team lacked this season.

“Being that Travis only had experience coaching boys, and wasn’t use to coaching us loud teenage girls, it was hard to build that bond between him and the rest of our team,” Harwell said.

The coaching style between Simon and Vincenzini is another factor that differed as a majority of the girls were accustomed to constructive criticism and punishment drills. Which wasn’t in Vincenzini’s coaching philosophy with his team this season.

“We are a team that would look for that encouragement and discipline from our coach, and we would just never get it,” Harwell said.

Despite the outcome of the season, the Tigers managed to build a strong chemistry and were able to continue to have fun.

“There’s a part of our team that have all been playing together since we were little girls,” Harwell said. “We now have this volleyball bond between our families and with each other where we know every problem and issue with each other that has continued to grow our relationship over the years. Knowing that this will be the last time we ever get the opportunity to play together is really sad,” Harwell said.

Although Harwell feels this season didn’t meet last year’s standards compared to the 10-4 record of last season, she is satisfied with her personal statistic achievements and improvement of herself and her teammates as they all had to learn the skills of new positions as the season went along.

Harwell led her team in serving percentage with a 97.2% and digging with 342 digs overall and averaged 12.7 per match.

“Going into this season I had a lot of pressure on me because I had never fully played libero a whole season,” Harwell said. “I ended up improving dramatically and ended with a season passing of a 2.40 and never once did I not wear the libero jersey this season and I’m super proud of myself for that.”