“Its been a good season for us,” Milton head coach Deb Schaefer said. “We knew that this would be a year of gaining experience and building cohesion. The players are fighting and no one is working harder than them on the court.”
The Eagles have benefited from the stellar play of senior setter Laura D’Andrea, who ranks in the top-five within the entire state in assists, gaining over 300 so far this season. Sophomore Sofia Stephens has more than 300 digs, which is also second in the state. Senior hitter Summer Smith has given the Eagles a strong offensive attacker, sitting just outside of the top-10 in kills.
The upperclassmen have accepted the responsibility of guiding the young Eagles’ roster. “I have a bigger role with the team now,” D’Andrea said. “We have to help the younger girls adjust to the game more. They were timid at first but are good and have been doing well.”
Milton began area play yesterday against Wheeler and Woodstock, marking a change in game approach for the coaching staff. “We’ve changed our lineup with players and positions throughout this season to find the group that gels most cohesively,” Schaefer said. “We’ve given everybody the opportunity to prove that they can positively contribute to this team. We want to make sure that we have the most solid lineup possible out there for our area matches and tournament in October.”
The landscape of prep volleyball in north Fulton has been felt by Milton, one of the oldest and traditionally strong programs in the entire state with multiple Final Four appearances and area titles. “There are more competitive teams now which has evened out the playing field,” Schaefer said. “You have to come out ready to play every time you come out on the court.”
The Eagles still have high expectations for the rest of 2013. “If we continue to work as a team, communicate and practice hard, we can do very well in our area and in the postseason,” D’Andrea said.
Milton returns to action on Thursday in matches against Pope and Chattahoochee.