In her 23rd season as volleyball head coach, Diana Story will face the challenging task of improving on last season’s grand success. In 2016, the Fauquier Falcons volleyball team secured a Conference 22 title, advanced to regionals and broke the school record for most wins in a season, with a record 23-4. However, with eight returners, all-state senior captain Maddie Carter said she is confident in the Falcons’ ability to use their experience and rise to the occasion.
“Most of us have played together before,” Carter said. “We know the court very well as a team, so working together will help us be successful. We have already been working very hard to get back into the groove of playing together, and everyone’s doing a great job of syncing as a team, which will play a huge role in how far we advance [with] our tougher regular season schedule.”
That schedule will feature the new 13-team Northwestern District implemented this season, which includes 4A members FHS, Kettle Run, Liberty, James Wood, John Handley, Millbrook and Sherando. Junior Jules Oravec, who received all-conference honors last season, said she is excited to compete in the district and work toward the goal of advancing past regionals.
“We just want to play to the best of our ability and give 100 percent every game,” Oravec said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how we match up with the new teams. I know it will be a challenging season, but I think we can compete consistently throughout it. [Last] season was very successful, so it’ll take a lot of hard work to match that record and to make it to states.”
Story said she had high expectations for her close-knit team heading into the season, hoping to win the new district and move onward in postseason play.
“We’re always working on basic skills and getting better at passing, setting, hitting and serving well,” Story said. “If we can have all that in one big package every night, we will be on point to do well.”
The starting lineup for the Falcons features senior co-captains Yvie Frazier and Carter, rounded off by juniors Rachel Crowe, Megan Constantino, Kayla Pavlock and Oravec.
“They are a great group of girls together and individually, which makes my job that much as their coach because I know them very well.” Story said.
As conference play approaches, Story, who was named 2016 Conference 22 coach of the year, said the team is promising and multidimensional, with each athlete playing an important role.
“It’s a well-rounded team. We had things that we did well and things that we need to work on—that’s how every scrimmage is supposed to be,” Story said. “There’s six girls on the court at any time, and they all play integral spots on the court, depending on what we need that night.”
Some strong returners this season include seniors Carter and Frazier, along with juniors Kiki Scott, Crowe, Constantino, Pavlock and Oravec. New this season is freshman Kate Wilvert, who competed with the Falcons in summer camps, landing a spot on the varsity team.
“They’re a pleasure to be around daily,” Story said. “They step up to the challenge, and they’re willing to get out there and fight and play at a high level every day”
The Falcons enter the season 7-3, after securing a 2-0 victory versus county rival Liberty Sept. 12. On Sept. 9, the Falcons placed second, with a record of 2-2 in the Albemarle Invitational in Charlottesville. The team secured 2-1 and 2-0 victories versus Western Albemarle and Albemarle, however, failed to defeat Stone Bridge in both games, losing 2-1 and 2-0. The Falcons will face off against conference opponent Millbrook, Sept. 19 at 7:15 pm.
~alex wright, sports director