The Huntington varsity girls’ volleyball team is heading to the Section XI playoffs for the first time in many years. That has the Blue Devils pumped up.
Huntington finished the regular season with a 5-5 mark under head coach and Blue Devil alum Lauren Visbal. This is the strongest squad in recent memory and the players and their coach are hoping to gain new respect in the post-season.
At its last regular season meet last Friday night, Huntington honored seniors Caroline Lenze and Shaye O’Beirne. There were posters, balloons and gift bags and lots of warm words.
The two seniors are well-liked and respected by the underclassmen on the team. Both have played integral roles in the Blue Devils’ success.
“Huntington volleyball has been such a wonderful experience for me,” Lenze said. “I feel so proud and lucky to be on a team with such an amazing group of girls and such an incredible coach. Being on this team has taught me so much more than just how to play volleyball. It has taught me the importance of unity, determination and leadership. It has been an honor watching this program grow and I will miss it dearly.”
In addition to Lenze and O’Beirne, Huntington’s roster includes freshman Shannon Kehoe, sophomores Marina Durand and Sophia Severine and juniors Cat Jamison, Maddie Reed, Kiara Gelbman, Peyton Kalb, Isabella Toscano, Grace Heuwetter and Steli Vlahos.
“Over the past couple years, Huntington volleyball has changed dramatically as a program,” Jamison said. “It is now taken seriously and is much more competitive. Caroline and Shaye have both been a driving force in this development. Caroline is a very fierce competitor and a leader on the court and Shaye is a great role model for the younger players on the team and really looks out for them. They’re a force that’s going to be missed.”
The Blue Devils tried to make Senior Day something special for Lenze and O’Beirne. The team also honored their coach, who has done so much to elevate the program’s competitiveness.
As family members stood nearby, Visbal spoke from the heart about the two seniors and every underclassmen shared the coach’s sentiments.
“Caroline and Shaye have brought such an amazing spirit to the team,” Reed said. “They will be irreplaceable for the Huntington volleyball program due to their athletic abilities and their glowing personalities. They will be missed next year, but I know they will both go on to do wonderful things in college.”
Visbal is happy to have coached the two seniors and will always remember them. “I have been coaching both of them since they were freshmen,” the coach said. “They have worked incredibly hard to become the players that they are today. Both have improved so much throughout the last four years and their presence on the court will be missed.”