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Marist volleyball moves forward, despite adversity
by Greg Oshust
September 17, 2013 03:05 PM | 2031 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Samantha M. Shal<br>
Marist’s Sarah Vahalla returns the ball during the War Eagles’ match with Grady last Tuesday.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal
Marist’s Sarah Vahalla returns the ball during the War Eagles’ match with Grady last Tuesday.
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Marist is looking to make another deep run through the Class AAAA state volleyball tournament after reaching the semifinals last year.

For now, the War Eagles are just focused on getting through the regular season in one piece.

With a number of players out of the lineup due to injuries and illnesses, the 2013 season has been somewhat of a gauntlet for Marist.

Nevertheless, the War Eagles have made the best of their situation with a 14-9 overall record, 4-0 mark in Area 5AAAA and No. 8 ranking in the AAAA PrepCountry.com coaches’ poll as of Thursday.

Marist won six of its first eight matches, but losing up to four starters from assorted injuries and illnesses resulted in five losses in the next seven matches for the War Eagles, who fell to AAAAAA powerhouses Walton and Chattahoochee and AAAAA standout McIntosh during that stretch.

Coach Kendall Reid-Webster is pleased with how her team has responded to the adversity.

“It’s been a difficult two weeks,” Reid-Webster said. “We’ve had to pull some [junior varsity] kids up to varsity and they actually had to come on and play right away and they’ve done a great job. We’ve had a lot of positive contributions from the team, considering their situation, so that’s been promising. But it’s been a pretty unpredictable season up to this point.”

Marist did make an impressive showing at the Lovett Block Party Sept. 6 and 7, winning four of its six matches and advancing to the second round of the gold bracket.

Even with some players called up from the JV squad in the lineup, the War Eagles still managed to beat elite-level teams such as North Cobb (AAAAAA), Whitewater (AAAAA) and Eagle’s Landing Christian (A) in the tournament.

“We had two JV kids on the court the whole time and ended up beating [North Cobb], which was a great thing, and we even ended up with a winning record at Lovett, which was a big deal,” Reid-Webster said. “I didn’t have any expectations — other than for them to play hard — and they did really well, so I was pleasantly surprised.”

While Marist lacks size up front, the War Eagles make up for it with a steady and consistent game in the backcourt.

“We’re definitely a very strong defensive and ball control, serve-receive team,” Reid-Webster said. “We pass the ball really well; we play defense really well. We are not a power-driven offense. We don’t have the people who are going to drive the ball a hundred miles an hour. But we do make teams work hard to get their points and we don’t make a lot of errors. So we kind of play that slow and steady game and make teams beat us.”

Senior outside hitter Bailey Weiland has missed the last three weeks with a shoulder injury, but senior setter Josie Stander, sophomore setter Hanna Weiland and freshman libero Alena Cashdan have been on hand to lead the War Eagles.

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