CUMBERLAND — Mount Desert Island High School varsity volleyball team Coach Corey Papadopoli was pleased with the performance of his squad when they took on seven teams in round-robin play at a preseason scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 22.
Nine-hour-long tryouts ended Wednesday. The new varsity team had only two days to practice together before the competitions began at Greely High School and Greely Middle School in Cumberland.
“The team performed really well,” said Papadopoli. At the scrimmage, he split the varsity squad into two equal teams and alternated them, with one half playing one set and the other half playing the next. “We learned that we have a lot of depth, and we showed that. We also hustled really well, chased down a lot of balls.”
He took this opportunity to try players in multiple positions and run several scenarios when the rest of the participating teams appeared to be comprised mostly of starting lineups with occasional subs.
Scrimmage games, he added, helped clarify a number of things for them. “The girls had fun and are starting to realize their potential if they work hard.”
Papadopoli said he continues to vary the focus in practice, with this week’s emphasis on transition, improvement of hitting efficiency and players working on reading the serve better to improve ball return.
This summer, the MDI volleyball program earned an award from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). The 2014-15 varsity team received the AVCA Team Academic Award, one of 237 girls’ high school teams in the country, for maintaining a team GPA of 3.30. “I think if this group continues to play hard, they will be very successful,” said Papadopoli. “We are really excited about this season. It is a great group of girls with tremendous potential.”