BY BRIAN RZEPPA
The Trojans battled into contention this year even though missing two key players due to injuries.
With only two seniors last season and a core that centered around three freshmen, the Trenton High School Volleyball team ended the year with a surprising third place finish in the Downriver League.
After a season that enabled their younger players to grow and gain experience, expectations were slightly raised headed into this year.
As the season came to a close however, the team was not able to exceed their success from the previous year. With Allen Park taking the Downriver League crown and Wyandotte right on their heels the team was not able to break into the top two. However, there is optimism moving forward.
According to coach Lynn Oakley, while the objective for any athletic program is ultimately to win games, this goal for this year was simply to take the next step forward both from a skill set standpoint and their chemistry as an overall unit.
“Going into this year, we just hoped to build off of what we did last year with those freshmen getting a year of experience under the belts. That experience is really important for them to build confidence as players and as teammates,” Oakley said.
It may not have materialized in the standings, but the team did manage to improve in areas that won’t show up in a box score or on a stats sheet.
“We played really well and it seemed like we were a much closer unit compared to last year, which really helps in a sport that relies on teamwork like volleyball does.”
The plan of building on last year’s promising season was derailed a bit by injuries, as two of the team’s top players were sorely missed throughout the year.
“Two of our seniors were unfortunately hurt throughout the year. Shelby Kersten, who was our MVP last year, had an injury and Izzy Olds tore her Achilles.” Oakley said.
In the absence of these two standout players, the depth of the squad was allowed to shine and it gave an opportunity for younger players to work into the gaining experience mantra that had been set since the previous season.
“We were again a young team, with five sophomores and two juniors. They were young and played hard, but just made some young mistakes. Bailey Wilson and Sommer Cavazos stepped up and Izzy Oakley helped lead the team with Shelby (Kersten) out of the lineup.”
While injuries took away what could have been a season with Downriver League Championship potential, the growth shown by the team throughout the year, paired with their ability to fight through adversity, should lead this program to a bright future.
“This year was great for us in terms of experience. Next year they’re going to be strong and then the following year, with our current sophomores then being seniors, it could be a dream team with five really, really strong players making up our core.”
On what will be a team led by five juniors that already have two years of varsity experience under their collective belts, the Trenton Volleyball team is one of the more promising programs in the entire school.