RHS 9th grade volleyball team makes debut

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Mary Gillon

Georgia Robbins (foreground) spikes the ball over the net against East Forsyth. The Raiders won 2-0.

Mary Gillon, Rooster Reporter

This year, volleyball has rolled out a third team: ninth grade.  Traditionally there have only been varsity and junior varsity teams.

“Last year during tryouts… we had to cut a lot of freshmen,” said head volleyball coach Doug Balser.

The coaches decided to create another team.  This addition of a ninth grade team helps increase inclusivity.

“We were just gonna bite the bullet and give it a shot,” Balser said.  “It has seemed to work out well. We have 11 good freshmen and it’s been good for them.”

Not only is it an adjustment for the freshmen being on a new team, but they also have the stress of starting high school.

“The first few days of high school were made easier because I would walk into a class and see a familiar face from volleyball, ” said Kaci Balser, a libero on the team.

Entering high school can be nerve-wracking and stressful but being a part of a team as an incoming freshman is beneficial. They get used to being on a sports team, get to meet new friends before school starts and learn about the school.

“[The freshmen] were here a month before everybody else so they got to learn the school,” Doug Balser said, “which has been helpful with playing on the court together and creating friendships in school.”

Not only do the freshmen feel comfortable in school, but they also get to sharpen their volleyball skills so they know what they need to work on for the years to come.

“One of the challenges of volleyball is seeing the [JV and varsity] girls and how good they are,” said middle hitter Olivia Rogers.  “The hardest part is is trying to better myself to be like them.”

Doug Balser thinks Rogers is doing an excellent job, though.

“She hit one of the coaches in the face [with a ball] during practice and bloodied [the coach’s] nose. She has a lot of power,” Balser said.

The team, whose record is 10-2 as of Sept. 19, has few spectators showing support for their games.  Even though they may not have a large number of people show up, their older teammates are supportive.

“The JV and varsity teams are our biggest fans,” says Kaci Balser.  “The coverage of our games is always little to none. We just make the best out of it.”

Rogers said at their last game, a crowd showed up right after they finished.

According to Doug Balser, there’s less publicity for the team because it’s newer and because people get more excited for varsity.

The ninth grade team will work more on skill development.  The coaches want to see the players improve on their individual skills so they can eventually play on the higher level teams.

“This team is a great addition to RHS,” Kaci Balser said.