The Mountaineers defeated East Orange Campus on Sept. 19 for its fourth straight victory and seventh in the last eight matches to improve to a 9-2 overall record.
Head coach Jackie Cruz is pleased with what she has seen so far.
“Our biggest success is our serving, and our athletic director, Mr. (Ron) Bligh, believes this is the best serving team we’ve had in years.”
With Cruz at the helm, the team has turned into a competitive powerhouse, earning back-to-back Super Essex Conference division titles and competing successfully against longtime Group 4 teams. This year’s roster looks to provide another season of exciting play and potential championships.
Cruz went on to discuss the varsity and players to watch.
“Ogechi led the SEC in blocks last year. She is looking to lead again, with her height and athletic ability.” She has 77 kills and 66 blocks, both team-highs. During this past week, she finished with 34 kills, 24 blocks, 16 digs, two assists and two aces.
“Lindsay has moved from setter to libero. She gives it her all in the back row. Lindsay always had an extremely strong serve and now with consistency and spotting, she is dominating.” The senior leads the team in digs with 91.
“Onye has made such an improvement from year after year. She is motivated to learn more. Her jump and reach makes up for her 5-foot-8 height.”
“Gaby is a third-year varsity player. She has truly shown growth in her game. Her serving is also strong and effective.”
“Kayla is ready to go as our starting setter. As a junior, she is already making noise on the court. She i
Tracey Ilderiss our hype person; her energy really encourages everyone else on the court.” The junior leads the team in assists with 197. She finished this past week with six kills, 80 assists, 25 digs and eight aces.
“Tracey loves volleyball. The passion that she has for the game really shows in her talent. She has made the biggest improvement by playing club for one year. As an opposite hitter, she has learned to hit cut shots and angles on the court that teams are having trouble receiving.”
“As a freshman, Lucy has truly made a name for herself early in the season. Her brother, Jackson Edwards, is a phenomenal volleyball player for our boys volleyball team. Lucy is a spectacular all-around player. Her poise on the court and her team effort is just amazing to watch. She is still young and has years to grow. To think Lucy as a freshman playing all-around, having such a technical game play, hitting every spot when serving and knowing the flow of the game, is crazy to me. I could only see her moving up from this point. She is the future of West Orange volleyball.” Edwards is second on the team in digs with 79 and leads the team in aces with 21.
Along with Cruz, Gina Graziosa serves as the JV coach and Caniece Williams as the freshman coach.
“Our girls are extremely athletic and work hard every day,” Cruz said. “They understand what it takes to compete.”
WOHS will host its first “Queen of the Mountain” tournament on Saturday, Sept. 21. The participating teams were West Orange, Jackson Liberty, Paramus Catholic, Hudson Catholic, Dover, Wayne HIlls, Paterson Charter, Passaic and Elizabeth. Following pool play, the top four teams advance. The winners of each pool are seeded first and second and the other two teams are seeded third and fourth based on their overall record.