By Summer Hampton & Julie Maglio
Photos by Cheryl Clanton
With volleyball regional quarterfinals approaching this week for Weeki Wachee High School, the Hernando Sun wanted to check in with head coach Kelly Werkmeister. They are the only Hernando County team to be moving onto regional competition.
The Lady Hornets aim to just take one game at a time, said Werkmeister. She shared that the girls are training hard at every practice right now.
This season the Hornets have been working through COVID challenges like every other school team in the district.
“Adapting to a new way of life is the norm and there are certain things everyone has to do now,” said Werkmeister.
Thankfully their team has not had to deal directly with anyone contracting the illness, but of course precautions are taken.
“Every single girl on the team has stepped to the plate with teamwork and a positive attitude. With everything that's been thrown at them this year, the girls have done very well with dealing and adjusting with life.”
Werkmeister herself is going through a challenging time and is recovering from a recent surgery, yet her husband who is also the assistant coach, has been filling in for her and she has lots of support.
Werkmeister explained that the team has a good mixture of students with players ranging from freshmen through seniors. So, they should have a pretty strong team carried over to next year, experience wise.
The girls on this team are familiar with one-another. They've been working together for years in club ball as well as on the highschool team. Kelly and her husband have even been coaching some of these girls for over six years throughout highschool and club. Whether the club is with the Werkmeisters or someone else, these girls are always doing something volleyball related.
“This team eats, drinks, and sleeps the sport. It's what they do, that's what makes them so strong; It's a year round thing for them,” said Werkmeister.
According to Werkmeister the best game they've played so far this season was against Wesley Chapel in the district final match. It was the most challenging but the girls had fun on the court too.
Coach Kelly states, “During the game the girls lost their first match, but it was inspiring to watch them push back and take the game. Certain errors happened at certain times and the girls didn't allow that to frustrate them, they came together and took the game one point at a time.”
As far as other notable strengths of the team, they are strong in both offense and defense. Kelly firmly believes that they are a well-rounded team. They have strong hitters, great defenders, and an amazing setter; it's a team effort and they don’t rely on just one person.
They have worked very hard to get where they’ve gotten this year and continue to want to better themselves. Kelly explains, “The girls are always looking to improve. If they've done something wrong in a game, they’ll come to me asking if we can practice that or improve in another aspect. They won't allow failure to get in their way, they just want to keep getting better.”
With the regional quarterfinals this Thursday Oct. 23 against North Marion, Coach Kelly says they don't know a whole lot about their competition, but the girls tend to play better when they aren’t familiar with their opponent.
If the Hornets make it through this Thursday, they will be participating in the semi finals on Tuesday the 27th. They will be playing the winner between Wesley Chapel and Crystal River.
Let's wish our Lady Hornets a lot of luck on their upcoming game and be sure to show out to cheer them on!