The Elizabeth Cardinals' gym echoed with the sounds of action during the Aug. 17 volleyball team practice session. First-year coach Shawn Novak moved between the two courts where players were …
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The Elizabeth Cardinals' gym echoed with the sounds of action during the Aug. 17 volleyball team practice session.
First-year coach Shawn Novak moved between the two courts where players were practicing, occasionally giving instructions to those on the courts.
“We are sort of a young team this year but we do have five seniors on the 14-player roster,” he said. “Everything is new this season. I am a new coach … I think we only have one or two players who were on varsity last year. But the players are showing a lot of determination and they want to build a strong volleyball program at Elizabeth this year. They have been working very hard and I feel we will play good volleyball this season.”
He said a definite team strength is the ability of the athletes to play a number of positions.
“All our players are skilled,” he said. “We have many of our players that also play volleyball on club teams when not playing for the Cardinals and they bring excellent skills to our program.”
He said the players are excited about the coming season and he shares their excitement.
Heather Drake is playing Cardinals volleyball for the fourth year.
“The past couple of seasons things have not been all that great for our volleyball program for a number of reasons that no longer are important,” she said. “The new coach is more patient and adapts well to the talent we have.”
She said there is a focus on fundamentals early in the practice sessions as they worked to develop their chemistry and style.
Volleyball is Drake's sport. She plays for the Cardinals during the high school season and with her club team the rest of the year.
Drake said she is primarily a hitter but she can play anywhere on the court she is needed. She said her goal and the goal of all the seniors on the squad is to leave the program better than it has been.
“We have a lot of potential this season and the goal is to go to regionals and go to state,” she said. “Personally my goal for our team is to win our league championship. We know Canon City will be a tough opponent and Woodland Park always had a good team so we have to be playing our best volleyball to win those matches.”
The Cardinals opened the season Aug. 25 (after press time) on the road against Battle Mountain. They return to Elizabeth for three straight home games, Aug. 30 against Vista Peak, Sept. 4 against D'Evelyn and Sept 19 against Pueblo South.
The home games are played in the Elizabeth High School gymnasium. Admission to home games is $5 for adults and $3 for students.
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