Chantilly’s Andreea Linte sets the ball perfectly in the air to Samantha Reeves, whose feet leave the ground as she slams the ball over the net. Nobody on the opposing team can save the ball from hitting the ground – easy point. The move is well practiced, something that could come naturally for seniors playing on a high school volleyball team.
Yet Linte and Reeves are only freshmen. They’ve only played in six varsity games thus far.
“I don’t look at them as freshmen – I look at them as good volleyball players,” said Chantilly head coach Charles Ezigbo. “They both have things to offer. I think that they can only get better.”
During Monday’s game against McLean, the Chargers team consisted of four seniors, four juniors, two sophomores, and Linte and Reeves. The Highlanders brought four seniors, seven juniors, two sophomores – and no freshmen. Most teams in the region wouldn’t take a chance with freshmen on their team. Ezigbo is different.
“One thing is that we are building our program. To have a nice mixture of each of the classmen really helps,” he said. “Its not like we put them on the team and they are sitting down and waiting their turn. They are actually getting to play. They are contributing.”
LINTE PLAYS on the team as a setter, what she refers to as “the quarterback of the team.” Reeves – an outside hitter, the offensive powerhouse position on the court.
“They are great. They have made tons of contributions to the team. Even as freshmen,” said senior outside hitter Heather Borowski. “I love having them in there.”
A key to their success, according to Reeves, was how the older players on the team welcomed the freshmen in the team.
“They are so nice,” she said. “I would expect seniors to think that they are so much better [and look down on us]. But they don’t do that.”
Its not like the girls don’t have volleyball experience. Linte, who began playing in fifth grade, said it took some practice to get to this point.
“I was terrible in fifth grade. I’ve had some really good coaches along the way that have helped me,” she said.
With Linte and Reeves already making a difference as freshmen, as they grow older, and gain more experience, the team will improve.
“Those two will have so much experience by the time they are seniors and our JV team has some great players also,” said junior Haley Rauch. “I think that we have a really good future.”