By Sophia Ricco
It seems that hard work and dedication is paying off for the Northport High School girls varsity volleyball team, who have dominated their games this season.
The team is currently 5-0, coming off wins against defending state champions Connetquot on Sept. 17, Bay Shore this past Thursday and Riverhead on Tuesday. Led by coach Christopher Fritch, the girls have won every game in three straight sets, aside from the Connetquot match that was 3-2.
The system that Fritch implemented when he became head coach three years ago took time for the girls to learn, but it is finally paying off.
“When myself and my assistant took over two years ago, we put in a new offense and defense system and it’s taken a little while for it start clicking and for everyone to be on the same page and know what’s expected of them,” Fritch said. “But they’ve bought into our system and now everything’s starting to click and come together.”
Before Fritch took over as head coach, the girls played a different style of offense and defense. Fritch admits that he took everything his players knew and changed it completely. Fritch implemented the techniques he used in his six years coaching boys vollyballhad upgrade the teams playing style. The style was unconventional for the girls, who were not used to transitioning between a rotational and perimeter defense. After three years, lots of practicing and running through fundamentals during the offseason, the girls have finally mastered their new plays and know what job they must do.
“We wanted to start doing something more complex on offense and then for our defense we look at play percentages, we look at where the holes are,” Fritch said.
But the team wouldn’t be where they are without powerful, dedicated players. Captain Sydnie Rohme is a primary hitter and a go-to player when the team is in trouble. Co-Captain Katie Kullack leads and runs the defense, while motivating her fellow teammates. Center Kelly McLaughlin also leads the offense and has phenomenal hands that distribute the ball well. Unfortunately, McLaughlin was sick for their game against Connetquot, leaving the team short an offensive player.
“We run a 6-2 offense but we had to switch our offense on the fly,” Fritch said. “But that being said, the girls really rose to the challenge and played great.”
After winning against the defending state championships, the team is focused on the present and most upcoming game, looking forward to their next win.
“Right now we’re just taking one game at a time,” Fritch said. “Our focus is to prep for whoever is next and that’s our main concentration. We don’t want to get lost in any hype, we want to stay focused and stay grounded.”
The team’s next game is at home against Walt Whitman High School at 5:45 p.m., Sept. 28.