Amundsen high school’s girls volleyball team held its own in conference play last season, and 12th year head coach Raquel Acosta knows that the biggest challenge for her team to stay in the mix is to keep their confidence high and focus on working as a team.
“The constant challenge in this sport is the mental pressure,” she said. “It’s easy for the girls to get down on themselves and not shake off a bad play. I’m constantly looking for ways to build them up mentally and connect them as a team. Team-building is really important.”
After graduating 12 seniors last season, including Yessica Cortez and Abigail Nananjo, returning senior outside hitter Lilia Escobar and junior setter Shannel Rodriguez look to be the key returning players for the Vikings. Amundsen will also be displaying some young talent in freshman Sylvie Coffey and sophomore Anayelly Duarte. Even with those key players aside, Acosta is excited to bring out the talent in everyone on the team.
“It’s exciting because there are so many different talnets behind who (the girls) are,” Acosta said. “It’s going to be fun to try to pull that out of them. It may be alot of work skill-wise, but i’m not worried about it because I know I can shape and mold them into better players.”
With the season opener set at Amundsen Wednesday, Acosta has already emphasized the importance of teamwork to her team, and knows that it will go a long way during a long season together.
“Skills are really important; but the team-building, the mental pressure and communication will be the key,” she said. “It’s hard, but once they start to team-build, the communication just comes. When they set their goals and compete, they rally for each other and support each other. That really changes the dynamic.”