By: Marin Murray

Only one month in and they’ve already won more games than they did all last season. They have the same amount of wins as their entire 2019 season and have doubled their wins from 2018. But they’re not done; they’ve barely scratched the surface of what they want this year. The 14-8 Lady Eagle volleyball team isn’t backing down anytime soon.

“Adversity is what makes this team different for me,” first-year head coach Caroline Cleveland said. “I’m very proud of my team. They’re working so hard, and it’s going to come. They just need to keep trucking along and finding that grit, but I’m very proud of them.”

They hope hard work, dedication, and hours of practice will pay off this season. But this doesn’t seem to be the key to their success. It starts in their rediscovery for the love of the game.

“I think one of our strengths this season has been enjoying the game again,” Cleveland said. “In the past, it hasn’t always been fun for them, and they haven’t enjoyed it as much. But this year you can see that they love the game, and you can tell. People in the community are coming to watch, and they see the change.”

This shift in attitude has allowed the Lady Eagles to be successful so far, but so has stepping out of their comfort zones.

“I think that another one of our strengths is that we’re okay with being uncomfortable,” Cleveland said. “As you grow as a person and as a player, you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, and I think they’ve done a great job on that part.”

And in doing that – in being uncomfortable – the Lady Eagles have found their way to the win column. This mentality is what could propel the volleyball team to their first playoff appearance since 2015.

“I think this team has a lot more fight than we’ve had in previous years,” senior captain Gentri Anderson said. “I’m excited for district to start because we all really want to make the playoffs and we’re all willing to fight for it.”

The Lady Eagles take on the Midland Bulldogs in their first district game of the season this Friday at 5 pm in Midland.