The girls varsity volleyball squad at Wellington High School has all the ingredients necessary for a successful season this fall, according to head coach Duane Carroll. It all starts with experience. Wellington’s roster features seven seniors, five juniors and three sophomores.
Of the 15 players on his varsity roster, eight are returning from last year’s team that lost in the district tournament finale to Palm Beach Gardens High School in five sets. Four of those returning eight players are starters: Ava Rodgers, Rilee Rimes, Lauren Scully and Rebecca Daniel. Rogers is a junior, while Rimes, Scully and Daniel are seniors and will serve as the three captains of the team this year.
In addition to the depth and experience on his roster, Carroll also loves his squad’s team spirit.
“My team is working well together, and everybody gets along,” said Carroll, now entering his third year as the team’s head coach. “We have strong team camaraderie. I also have a number of good, talented and experienced players. All of my players have played travel volleyball with groups such as the Palm Beach Juniors, the Tribe and the Wellington Volleyball Academy.”
Carroll is also delighted to see how each player’s skillset has improved since last season.
“I have a great deal of versatility with this team,” he said. “We have lots of depth up and down the roster.”
In the buildup to his team’s regular season opener at Olympic Heights High School, which was played on Wednesday, Aug. 24, the Wolverines had a pair of pre-season exhibition matches against Lake Worth Christian and Glades Day School at the Lake Worth Christian Preseason Volleyball Tournament.
Carroll learned a great deal about his team’s strengths and weaknesses during those two matches.
“The main thing I like about the preseason is it allows us to see things that need to be improved before we get into the regular season,” Carroll said. “It also allowed me to put players in multiple roles on the court.”
In recent weeks, Carroll’s players have spent many hours working on serving, blocking, tipping, reading the flight of the ball in the air and passing, which he refers to as the “foundation of success in volleyball.”
There are a number of players on Wellington’s team who Carroll needs big production from in order for the Wolverines to have a strong regular season and make a deep post-season run later in the fall.
“My libero is Giovanna Bock, who is lights out,” Carroll said. “She reads the flow of the game well.”
Two of Carroll’s players who will be expected to score points with kills include Rodgers and Rimes, both of whom play outside and opposite, which means they are capable of executing kills from both the right side and left side of the net. They will be Wellington’s two top outside hitters.
“Since last year, Ava has definitely improved her speed, quickness and serving,” Carroll said. “As one of the three senior captains, I am looking for Rilee to help lead the team with leadership and mentor the up-and-coming players. She has already shown the capability of being a leader, based on last year.”
As is often the case with any high school athletic team, the success of the squad is often tied to the upperclassmen taking ownership of the team.
“I would like to see all the girls take some role of leadership within the team, but I expect my seven seniors to be the ones who will play a leading role,” Carroll said.
When you have a team with talent, depth, skill and leadership, those are the necessary ingredients for a successful season — and the Wellington High School girls varsity volleyball team has just that. The ultimate goal is to get to the Florida High School Athletic Association’s Class 7A girls volleyball finale in early November. Carroll has it circled on his calendar.