Versatility Has Been A Key For Cape Tech’s Playoff-bound Volleyball Squad

By: Brad Joyal

Topics: Cape Cod Tech , Volleyball

Cape Tech senior co-captain Ana Rolfe prepares to serve against Upper Cape Tech. BRAD JOYAL PHOTO

BOURNE – The Cape Cod Tech girls volleyball team is hardly one-dimensional.

The Crusaders have a plethora of strong servers and are capable of remaining steady when a match requires them to trade volleys for an extended period of time. Perhaps most importantly, the squad has the focus and hand-eye coordination that is necessary to stick with the ball and make plays when a volley breaks down into a scattered mess.

Those skills — and the team’s improved communication — has helped Cape Tech clinch a spot in the Division 5 state tournament.

“Our teamwork and communication has been a lot better this year,” said senior co-captain Ana Rolfe, a Marstons Mills resident. “We have such a good team this year and we’ve all bonded so well together that it’s making it so much better for everybody and it’s making us do better.”

The team’s versatility was on full display during its recent 3-0 sweep of Upper Cape Tech on Oct. 19. There were stretches that the Crusaders would string together consecutive aces with their serves, and others where players would make a point at the net only to stand out with another play among the back line moments later.

Rachel Crooker, Cape Tech’s second-year coach, said that versatility has allowed players to contribute in multiple ways during the team’s 10-5 start.

“I think it is really important as a volleyball player to be versatile because some coaches might throw you in middle or the back row on defense,” Crooker said. “They will put you where they think that you fit, so the more places you can fit, the more opportunities that you’ll have.”

Rolfe noted that the versatility has allowed the Crusaders to make changes as needed.

“It’s great because if we’re tight and need to change it up or find a different spot, we can count on other girls to do so,” the senior said. “If there’s something that we’re messing up on, we switch it up and know that we can do that because we have so many skills.”

In addition to the strong play of Rolfe, Crooker credited the team’s libero, junior Hayley Kirker, for being a stellar defensive specialist and added that junior Jeanly Valerio has been a valuable server and outside hitter.

“Sarah Feliz is someone else to watch out for,” added Crooker. “She’s a sophomore this year and is a strong middle blocker and she can also play pretty well outside.”

Although some players have been relied on more than others, Crooker said qualifying for the state tournament has been the result of the Crusaders adopting a team approach.

"I think everyone coming together to really do their part is what's been working for us right now," he said. "We're really just meshing."

The coach added that she’s grateful to have the opportunity to help Cape Tech’s girls develop as volleyball players.

"I feel really grateful to be a part of each and every one of their journeys in sports," Crooker said. "I feel like girls sports are becoming more competitive and especially in volleyball, with a new focus on volleyball. I'm really just blessed to be a part of that and to be able to help them become better players."

While Rolfe described heading to the state tournament as "invigorating," Crooker said she's excited to see how the team will do under pressure once the postseason seedings are released and the tournament begins.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how we play under pressure," Crooker said. "I do think we play well under pressure, so I'm excited about that."


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