New England 7th-grade volleyball finishes season undefeated

The New England Volleyball program is picking up steam from the bottom up. This season the 7th-grade girls volleyball team went undefeated in the regular season and during the midseason tournament, following in the footsteps of last years 8th-grade squad, who also went undefeated.

Volleyball

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

The New England Volleyball program is picking up steam from the bottom up. This season the 7th-grade girls volleyball team went undefeated in the regular season and during the midseason tournament, following in the footsteps of last years 8th-grade squad, who also went undefeated.

Though coach Branigan Bender hadn’t seen them play before, within a few weeks she knew she had a pretty athletic team. Her sister, Jordyn, also coaches with her and leads the 8th-grade team.

New England has a 4th, 5th, and 6th-grade team, something Bender says helps when the athletes are old enough to move up a level. They did fundamental work, but because they were already familiar with the ins and outs of the sport, they were able to advance the teaching a little bit.

One thing they instilled on the team is the practice of position rotation, something Bender said she didn’t see out of their opponents.

The season is one month long with a mid-season tournament for the area teams. Throughout the month, her team saw nine different opponents, winning by both small and large margins. What did they like the most though?

The tournament.

“The tournament was actually really fun for us,” Bender said.

They played Hettinger/Scranton int he championship match and all three games were close. Bender said the final game usually only goes to 15 points, but the final score of that contest was 21-19, something she said would be overtime if volleyball had an overtime period.

“That was just how a championship game should be, it was so much fun,” Bender said.

Though her team came out of the gate storming, she did see improvement in her squad.

“We knew they were going to be a decent team right away, but they improved,” Bender said. “Their communication got better.”

When asked what was one characteristic her team will benefit having at the next level, Bender said it was their will to be a winning team.

“They like to win, they never give up,” Bender said.

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