FALL SPORTS PREVIEW: Comets to take step forward in rigorous SEISCDurflinger, McMartin to play hitter positions
Coach Jerald Harter is entering his fifth year at the helm of Cardinal Comets volleyball, and he has noticed a trend about his teams over the past few seasons.
“What we need to do that we haven’t done the last few years is beat somebody we’re not supposed to,” Harter said. “Right now we beat who we’re supposed to, but we don’t beat the other teams, and then we finish around .500 every year. “
Cardinal is a combined 34-44 over the past three seasons. In other words, in order to advance into the upper third of the SEISC-South, the Comets need to take down a conference power player or two. This won’t be easy, considering both outside hitters, the libero and the outside blocker from last year’s team have graduated.
“We’re deeper on the outside and possibly defensively, but one position we’re not deep at is in the middle,” Harter said. “We really only have two players in there, and if one of them goes down, we’d have to figure something out real quick.”
Holy Trinity Catholic will lead the charge to keep the Comets out of the conference’s upper echelon. The Crusaders made the state championship game last year behind Mikaela Foecke, who played on the under-18 USA national team and is one of the best players in the nation. New London, Central Lee, West Burlington and Van Buren each look to have strong rosters as well.
Even with four seniors from last year’s team gone, the new starting lineup sports familiar faces. Junior Cassidy McMartin will lead the offensive attack from an outside hitter spot. McMartin was third on the Comets last season with 107 kills. Dakota Durflinger, who led the team with 132 kills in 2013, will return as a middle hitter. Ryley Liles will man the other outside hitter spot.
Ashley Hart will start at libero. Sarah Schmidt and Jessie McElderry will likely rotate in the back row. Senior Danae Moses will be the setter, and she’ll be backed up by Shelby Smith. Moses led the team with 193 assists last year.
“I would say that setting is our strength because we have both of our setters back from last season,” Harter said. “If we can get them a ball that’s useable, they can put it where we need them too.”
A large crop of freshman, 17 of them in total, joined the program last season. That group has been twiddled down to eight. Those who are dedicated have stuck with the program, and that’s what Harter likes to see.
“If they can buy into this and believe that we can be better than in years past, we can have a really good year. I think this group can do that.”
2014 Cardinal Volleyball Varsity Schedule
9/4 vs. New London
9/9 vs. Moravia
9/11 vs. Central Lee
9/16 @ Harmony
9/18 @ MSAE
9/20 @ Harmony Tournament
9/25-27 @ SEISC Tournament (TBA)
9/30 vs. West Burlington
10/2 @ Van Buren
10/7 vs. Burlington Notre Dame
10/9 @ Holy Trinity
10/11 @ Davis County Tournament
10/14 vs. Danville
10/16 Cardinal Triangular
10/21 Regionals First Round (TBA)
Head Coach: Jerald Harter, 5th season
Key Returnees: OH Cassidy McMartin (Jr.), S Danae Moses (Sr.), MH Dakota Durflinger (Jr.)