Despite going 7-12 a year ago, the volleyball team proved to be a more than formidable opponent, with nine of its 19 contests ending in five sets.
Going into the sixth season as a program, the Tigers are hoping to use last season as a learning curve and return to the state tournament for the second time in the last three years.
“Last year was tough because we had a lot of five match games where we lost,” head coach Corinne McCarthy said. “I think this year we have a better attitude and we are mentally tougher too as a result.”
With a healthy mix of upper and underclassmen on this year’s roster, the Tigers have a good core to learn and move on from last year. That doesn’t mean, however, that there are some shoes to fill from departing seniors Morgan Drew, Mary Burak and Taylor Wertz.
However, this year’s senior captains, Nicole Duffy-Protentis and Candace Steadman, have already done a nice job filling the leadership void.
“Candace has improved tremendously since last year. She was a big part of last year’s team, but this year she has gotten stronger with her hitting and her jump serve.” McCarthy said about her captains. “Nicole is doing a good job defending and she is a pretty strong hitter as well."
One of the underclassmen to watch, according to McCarthy is junior Caroline Meyer, who performed well in the Tigers’ scrimmage against Coyle Cassidy on Thursday.
“Caroline is our setter and she’s done really well during the first couple of weeks,” McCarthy said. “She really stepped up in the scrimmage against Coyle Cassidy. She’s been working on her technique, moving to the ball and has really done well.”
With a strong core coming back, the Lady Tigers will still have to deal with the competition from the rest of the Hockomock League.
While OA still has to face the Davenport Division teams twice, they only have to face the teams from the Rex-Kelley Division once – with the exception of Mansfield.
“The Hock is a strong league, especially after breaking up into the large [Rex-Kelley] and the small [Davenport] divisions,” McCarthy said. “We only have to face the large teams once, with the exception of Mansfield who we face twice. I think we really have good contenders [in the league] who could do really well this year.”
OA opens its season this coming Wednesday at Silver Lake at 5 p.m. before starting its Hockomock League slate with Attleboro Friday at 4:45.
McCarthy’s squad will host Sharon for the home opener on Sept. 13 – a week from this coming Tuesday – at 3:45.
OA Volleyball Quick Facts
Head Coach: Corinne McCarthy
2010 Record: 7-12
Captains: Nicole Duffy-Protentis, Candace Steadman
Key Returnees: Duffy-Protentis, Steadman, Caroline Meyer
Key Losses: Morgan Drew, Mary Burak, Taylor Wertz
- Sept. 7 at Silver Lake
- Sept. 9 at Attleboro
- Sept. 13 vs. Sharon
- Sept. 16 at Stoughton
- Sept. 19 at Franklin
- Sept. 21 vs. Mansfield
- Sept. 23 at Canton
- Sept. 26 vs. Foxborough
- Oct. 3 at North Attleboro
- Oct. 4 vs. Brockton
- Oct. 5 at Mansfield
- Oct. 6 at King Philip
- Oct. 14 vs. Sharon
- Oct. 18 vs. Stoughton
- Oct. 21 vs. Canton
- Oct. 25 vs. Foxborough
- Oct. 27 Hockomock Showcase
- Oct. 28 vs. Silver Lake