Great expectations

Molly Corhn isn’t shying away from the expectations that many have for Polk County’s volleyball program this season.

After all, she has rather high hopes for her squad as well.

“I just feel like this group of girls is so well-rounded, not just in volleyball,” Corhn said. “They are really good, sweet, smart, athletic young women. I expect really good things out of them. I have high expectations for every one of them.”

When Corhn was named to replace Kelly Risley, who resigned in June due to family concerns after leading the Wolverines to a 15-9 record last season, she inherited a program with three returning all-Western Highlands Conference players, two other talented, experienced juniors and a group of newcomers who might well have more on-court experience than their older teammates.

It appears to be everything for which a first-year coach could ask.

And Corhn says it is.

“For my first year teaching and coaching I don’t think I could have picked a better group,” Corhn said. “These girls are so sweet and they’ve accepted me and they’re excited for me to be their coach. It’s been a little stressful at times, but it’s been really, really good and really fun.”

2014 Polk County volleyball schedule

Corhn will rely heavily on two seniors, outside hitter Sarah Phipps and setter Kara Overholt, to help make certain the fun lasts all season. Phipps emerged last season as the Wolverines’ go-to player on the outside and has remained that during the preseason. Overholt, who Corhn calls “one of the best high school setters I’ve ever seen,” is the only setter on the varsity roster and will be expected to guide Polk County’s on-court attack.

Both are also playing another key role for Corhn.

“They already are my leaders,” Corhn said. “I make sure I let them lead our warmups and I let them lead our drills. I’ve also had individual conversations with them about taking the role on the court as the leaders and stepping up and being those people I need out there on the court. I need a mini-coach out there on the court who holds them accountable, but who supports their teammates, and I really feel like that role can be filled by those two.

“The girls look up to them. All of them, especially the sophomores and freshmen on varsity and even the ones on JV. It’s good to see that. It’s nice to see that.”

[aesop_image img=”×490-1.jpg” imgwidth=”400px” caption=”Reagan Waddell (10) is one of three freshmen on Polk County’s roster this season.” alt=”Reagan Waddell” align=”left” offset=”-200px” captionposition=”left” lightbox=”on”]

Phipps and Overholt are two of the returning all-conference players. Junior Lily Owens is the third and could see time at both libero and outside hitter. Fellow junior Ashley Love will play in the middle, with junior Savannah Ross helping anchor the back line as a defensive specialist. Sophomore Addie Lynch will see time as a right-side hitter.

A trio of freshmen – middle hitter Reagan Waddell, libero/outside hitter Kendall Hall and right-side hitter Cameron Capozzi – will join the varsity squad. Each played on the Xcel Volleyball 14X Select squad that placed third out of 139 teams in the 41st AAU Girls’ Junior National Volleyball Championships in Orlando in June, with Waddell and Hall named to the all-star team for the tourney. Each also played key roles in Polk County Middle School’s undefeated run last season to a Blue Ridge Middle School Conference championship.

With just nine varsity players, each will be counted on this season to contribute for the Wolverines.

“I pulled them aside before tryouts were over and I said, this is what I’m thinking, I’d like to pull you guys up but I need to know that you’re going to be able to handle it, that you’re confident,” Corhn said. “This is going to be a lot of pressure, the game’s much different. Just from that small transition from JV to varsity or middle school to varsity, the game gets much faster. You’re playing with older girls.

“I wanted to make sure they could handle it and were confident of that, and every single one of them reassured me they were. They told me they were ready for it and felt like they could handle it. I have huge amounts of confidence in those three freshmen. I’ve coached them before (at Xcel) and I’ve seen their skills grow and I’ve seen them grow up. They have miles ahead of them in terms of potential, but I’m very confident in them for them to be so young.”

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The group’s trademark will be its power, both in attacking and serving. That could come in handy in the WHC, where defending state 2A champion Hendersonville returns championship game MVP Cassie Born, the team leader in kills last season and a Tusculum commitment, and leading blocker Micayla Bedoian.

“I think our offense is going to be very good,” Corhn said. “(Overholt) has a lot of pressure on her. She’s the only setter on varsity. But I know she can handle it and she’s going to be able to run our offense and set our hitters really well.

“I also feel like our serving is really good, going to be very strong and dominating. Every single person on my team serves well. I’m very confident in our serving.”

Corhn is the daughter of Shawn Corhn, the longtime volleyball coach at Rugby Middle School who retired at the end of the 2013-14 school year. The elder Corhn, who has another daughter, Allyson, who serves as an assistant coach at West Henderson, has been letting Molly Corhn, the youngest of three, find her way in hew new position, only occasionally offering advice.

“She has (offered advice), but she’s also kind of sat back in the corner and watched,” Corhn said. “She defintely wants it to be about me and helping me prove myself, being so young. She definitely doesn’t want people to think she’s got any type of impact on it. She listens, and I get advice or I vent, or I say, what do you think about this option as a lineup. She’s definitely been there for support.”

2014 Polk County Wolverines Varsity Volleyball Roster
Kara Overholt, sr., setter
Sarah Phipps, sr. outside hitter
Ashley Love, jr., middle hitter
Lily Owens, jr., libero/outside hitter
Savannah Ross, jr., defensive specialist
Addie Lynch, so., right-side hitter
Cameron Capozzi, fr., right-side hitter
Kendall Hall, fr., libero/outside hitter
Reagan Waddell, fr., middle hitter

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