After a tumultuous and frustrating 2010 season that saw the Poets win only three games, Dunbar is looking to take 2011 by storm with a strong core of junior leaders and a new head coach. The girls say the mood is the lighter and the team is stronger.
“This year’s team, I feel, is a good one,” junior Tara Holland said. “Everyone gets along for the most part. We have a lot of good players this year.”
The team is filled with junior leadership that bodes for an even more promising 2012 season. Holland said the Poets have bought into the concept of playing together as a team and putting egos aside.
In the season opener, it worked in tune to a 3-0 win over Northwestern.
Poets coach Dana Johnson is in her first season with the Poets. She comes to the school after spending 11 seasons at Southside Academy. Johnson said the Poets have some strong outside hitters and servers.
She’s hoping to incorporate some inside hitters at some point, though that’s something typically not seen in volleyball throughout the city.
“This season we’re going to try to lay the foundation and keep growing from there.”
Holland, who picked up volleyball in the eighth grade, said she’s coming into her own as a player. She admitted she used to think of herself first when it came to playing the sport.
“When I was in middle school I used to want to be the only person that hit the ball,” Holland said. “The fact is we realized that we’re not good by ourselves.”
Junior Dawnyea Felton began playing on the Poets’ volleyball as a freshman. She said she’s seen a definite growth in this year’s team, compared to what it went through last season.
“Everybody hustles to the ball and moves their feet,” Felton said. “We can still work on our serves but we’re getting better.”
One thing’s certain with the 2011 Poets: Team chemistry issues have hurt the team in the past. But this season, the girls are on the same page, which can only help lead to better results.
“We play as a team for once,” Holland said.
by Jason Butt