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Wheeler Volleyball: “Setting” Up for Future Success

Andy Feddersen, Staff Writer

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Recently, Wheeler varsity volleyball made the region and state playoffs for the 2018 season. The region tournament was hosted by Wheeler, giving great exposure to our school and a comfortable environment for the Wheeler players. The last three seasons have all been decently successful and resulted in state tournament play. According to Naomi Chernowski, the team “made it to state playoffs for the past three years by being third in the region in 2016, fourth in 2017, and now third again this year.” These recent accomplishments have made Wheeler a recognized team in the region. With an average regular season record this year, the Wildcats expected the outcome of the region play and were excited to, once again, play in the state playoffs.

   With the result of placing third in their home-hosted region tournament, the Lady Wildcats volleyball team was able to enter into the GHSA (Georgia High School Association) state playoffs. In preparation for the playoff game, I asked Naomi Chernowski what differences from past seasons resulted in the improvements of the team seen this year and what contributed to the success this season. She responded, “We had brand new coaches this year, so it was definitely a big transition for the whole team. It was hard to build up that trust in the beginning of the season with so many new teammates, but eventually, we grew very close.” She went on to say, “Our success came from a gradual growth in desire and the want to win. At the beginning of the season, volleyball was not often taken seriously, but eventually, we all came together and did whatever we could do to win.” The team has been through ups and downs, but in the end, they pulled through to have success in the region tournament.

On Saturday, November 20th, the Wheeler volleyball team traveled to Walton High School to play their first match of the state playoffs. Their opponent was the North Cobb Warriors, the highschool of the Wheeler volleyball head coach Kelly Feddersen. The Warriors were a great team and sadly beat Wheeler in two hard-fought sets. The players on both side all gave everything they had in hopes of progressing to the second round. Unfortunately, Wheeler was defeated. In reflection of the season, Brannan Basham stated, “This past season was fun because every aspect of Wheeler volleyball was done differently with a new coach, we had different practices and a new crowd of people who advanced from JV, who were great to get to know. The team as a whole had many struggles and strengths, and it was definitely interesting to work together to improve our weaknesses. During the beginning of the season we struggled to work together and have a positive mindset within ourselves, but with some team bonding and motivation from our coach, the athletic director, and even other teams, we managed to find our groove as a team.” She went on to say, “The season was very different from last year, and Wheeler volleyball as a whole has improved drastically this season.”

Following the loss and the end of the 2018 season, the team has high hopes for next year. “Next year will definitely be a year focused on development, but I hope to be third in the region again and maybe get to the second round of state,” said Naomi Chernowski. With these high hopes, though, also come some the grievance of the senior players’ departure. One of the seniors on the team, Michelle Nader, says that the feelings are “bittersweet.” She also stated, “I hope the team will continue on our upward trend with everything.  I plan on them going to state yet again and hopefully making it the 2nd round.” Naomi Chernowski also contributed to the departure by saying, “Losing our senior, Michelle, will definitely be difficult. She was our main setter who often carried the team, so it will be a difficult position for someone to fill.” The Wheeler volleyball team has had some success this year and in recent seasons, but the 2019 season will prove if the Lady Wildcats can live up to their goals and aspirations.

Andy Feddersen, Staff Writer

Andy is a junior from Marietta Georgia. He plans on being a veterinarian once he grows up. He also wants to live in a modern type of house. Unlike most...

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Wheeler Volleyball: “Setting” Up for Future Success