Since she was in eighth grade, Indian Creek senior Alex Walls wanted to play volleyball for her school. Finally on Thursday, she was able to put on an Indian Creek uniform and play an official match against another school.
Walls and the Eagles wrote the first chapter of Indian Creek volleyball history when they not only stepped on the court to play a real match, they recorded the first win in school history with a 25-20, 25-23, 17-25, 25-18 victory over fellow Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland C Conference foe Beth Tfiloh.
“I’m so proud of all the girls and so impressed,” said Walls, one of the catalysts behind organizing a team. “I’m so thankful that we have a team here finally.”
With the help of her older sister, Gabrielle, and other players, a team was organized. The Eagles played six scrimmage matches against other IAAM schools last year, then were invited to become an official member of the C Conference this year. The team didn’t play any scrimmages, so Thursday was the first time it stepped on the court against another opponent this year.
“I think it was good that they were given a chance to do what they love,” Indian Creek coach Corey Somerville said. “It took a lot of work, but it paid off.”
While there were some of the first-match jitters that were expected, the Eagles looked like a team that can be competitive. They won the first set on the strength of 12 aces, fought back from a deficit to win the second set, then after dropping the third, rebounded to close out the match in the fourth.
Freshman Alex Allen had four aces in the first set, while Walls had three aces and a kill during a four-point stretch that pushed the lead to 20-12. Sophie Whitney closed out the set with two straight aces.
After dropping the third set, Indian Creek took control early in the fourth, fought off a comeback attempt from Beth Tfiloh, then pulled away late to close out the match. Laila Ivey and Allen each had a pair of kills in the set, while Sarah Hawes executed a perfect setter dump late and Charlotte Dickinson closed out the set and the match with a kill.
Not bad for a team that Somerville estimates only 20 percent have playing experience.
“I saw a lot of resilience and will,” Somerville said. “I saw a lot of determination. They wanted it bad and they went and got it.”
Somerville made his way to Indian Creek as the school’s first coach through a connection with Ivey. The longtime player trains the freshman outside of Indian Creek. He was approached by Indian Creek administration and eventually hired. He’s assisted by Stephen Roth, who was involved with the program last year.
“I like working with the kids and seeing the growth,” Somerville said. “Like everything else, I just have to figure it out.”
The Eagles have a pair of seniors in Walls and Megan Kuhns, while Ivey and Allen are two promising freshmen. Six sophomores and five juniors make up the remainder of the squad.
“We have some really good freshmen who have played club before and we have some other girls in different grade levels who have little to no experience,” Walls said. “We’ve been working the past two weeks so hard. Every single weekday, sometime on weekends, conditioning, hitting and drills to no end.”Click here to read the original story in the September 6 Capital Gazette.