Lady Highlanders’ volleyball ready for 2019 season

West Milford. The Lady Highlanders volleyball team is ready to improve on last year’s 6-18 season.

Sep 10 2019 | 11:35 AM

West Milford High School’s 2019 girls’ volleyball season is officially underway and the team’s head coach is optimistic about this year’s squad.

”This team is driven and they know how to work together to accomplish their goals,” said Coach Alyssa Forget. “So all season long, no matter who the opponent is, this team is going to give it their all and go for the win.”

This will be Forget’s fifth year coaching Lady Highlanders’ volleyball, with the team finishing the 2018 season with a record of 6-18.

“Practice is always very goal oriented and competitive,” Forget said of the 2019 squad. “So I am hoping that their competitive and ambitious nature that they have developed throughout the preseason will lead to success this year.”

Several key players from last year’s team are returning this season, including senior setters Erin Swajger and Kasey Orlowski, senior outside hitter Anna Brand, junior outside hitter Rory McCormick, and junior libero Caitlyn McNally.

According to Forget, Swajger and Orlowski will be splitting time setting and hitting opposite.

“While they are setting, they will be the two players in charge of running our offense,” said Forget. “So the rest of the team is depending on them to step up into a leadership role.”

The coach named Brand and McCormick as the two key offensive players that the team will be depending on for attack points, while she said McNally will be in charge of running the defense.

“(McNally) is the key to our success in the back row and will be an integral part of our success this year,” Forget said.

According to the coach, McNally will be looking to add to her 112 digs from last season and all five returning players bring valuable varsity experience to the team.

Senior defensive specialist Sam Turi will also be serving and playing in the back row this year.

“She has a great serve that has been very difficult for our opponents to handle in the past,” Forget said of Turi. “So we are hoping to see that continue throughout the season.”

From there, the team will be counting on some newcomers to contribute, including junior Olivia Carle and sophomore Samantha Araujo.

“Olivia Carle is a junior middle blocker who we are looking to step up to block and hit out of the middle position,” said Forget. “While Sam Araujo is a sophomore outside hitter that we think can make an impact as a hitter on our team.”

Forget believes that what makes this year’s team unique is the chemistry they’ve developed playing together.

“They understand all the components of the game and work well together to accomplish their goals,” she said. “They never give up on a goal no matter how long it takes them to accomplish it.”

The Lady Highlanders will get the chance to get a little closer to reaching their goals this week, when they’re scheduled to play Passaic Valley High School at home before traveling to Fair Lawn to play the Cutters on Thursday.