BAR HARBOR — When the 2019 season begin, there were three things Kirk Ritter wanted his team to accomplish.
Ritter wanted the Mount Desert Island High School junior varsity volleyball team to win half of its matches or more; he wanted his players’ individual skills to improve; lastly, by season’s end, he wanted the Trojans to have improved significantly as a team.
The Trojans accomplished all three of those things this season, finishing with a record of 7-7 and displaying growth across the board.
“We had a good blend of winning games to get everybody even playing time,” said Ritter, the team’s head coach. “The girls had great attitudes and efforts, and their skills all improved from start to finish.”
Although focusing on team record isn’t seen as an indicator of success in JV play as it as at the varsity level, Ritter wanted his team to build momentum and confidence. Getting in the win column consistently, he thought, help the Trojans do exactly that.
“Varsity is definitely where you focus more on record, but if you don’t win at all, it can bring about a negative energy,” Ritter said. “I thought, ‘Hey, if we can finish even, that’s a great season, and we can build on that.’”
One of Ritter’s best memories of the year, though, came in a loss.
Although MDI couldn’t quite pull out a victory in its match against Greely, the fight and energy the Trojans brought to the game pleased their coach.
“Even though we lost that game, the girls game out with a lot of positive energy and great efforts all around,” Ritter said.
One challenge MDI (and other high school volleyball programs) have had to face is the lack of local volleyball opportunities around the island at the pre-high school level.
With neither Acadian Youth Sports nor any of the area middle schools sponsoring the sport, youth players have to get involved through Maine Juniors, something Ritter highly encourages.
Nevertheless, MDI has been able to produce healthy numbers for a high school program. The program fielded 15 varsity players and 13 JV players this year, numbers that bode well for the future.
Team members on this year’s JV team were Heather Finger, Kylie Dowsland, Victoria Pimental, Cecilia Saltysiak, Hailey May, Soren Hopkin-Goff, Gracie Parker, Cassandra Carter, Bailey Goodell, Claire Moore, Susanna Davis, Emily Sawyer and Kaya Gray.