Scholastic volleyball certainly differs from its picnic or beach counterpart. School ball is an intense and competitive affair, featuring skilled and spirited athletes. It's not just a romp in the park.
Alex Bovino, senior captain for the Council Rock North team, definitely ranks as just such a dedicated and solid performer. In a preseason preview her coach, Kinsey Lynch, described Alex, saying, "She is a strength on our right side with aggressive swings and big blocks. As captain, she will be a great leader on the court.'
Alex aims to live up to her coach's praise. "As captain, I just try to lead by example on the court. I try to have a good attitude so hopefully, people look up to that. Whenever we get together in the middle of the court, I tell the girls to play their hearts out.'
A selfless player, Alex recognizes how teamwork translates into overall success. It is one of the reasons she loves volleyball. "I like the concept that you literally have to rely on your other teammates. In volleyball, you can't win a game without everyone on the court being involved. Even people on the bench cheering helps get the idea across that everyone is working together.'
This theory paid dividends for last year's Indian squad. In posting a near perfect 11-1 SOL National Division mark, coach Lynch's charges showed they had the talent and togetherness.
Alex feels this season should serve as a repeat performance. "Our goals going in are to win the league and beat Pennsbury. This is a great group of girls. I honestly love everyone on the team. We all get along really well. We have a great chemistry on the court. Everyone is good at the jobs they are supposed to be doing. Our passers always get the passes up and the hitters get the ball on the floor.'
The Rock's current record definitely supports Alex's appraisal. The Indians sport a 5-2 league mark, putting them in second place only one game away from the frontrunner, Pennsbury. Their two losses came at the hands of the Falcons and a tough William Tennent team.
Alex considers the loss to Pennsbury a key early season eye opener. "One of our biggest matches so far was our away match against Pennsbury. We went to four games with them. It was close and competitive. We play them again and that will be a crucial matchup.'
The loss to Tennent was equally important. The Indians had vanquished the Panthers in five games early in September. On Friday, Sept. 27, they found themselves in another nail-biter that carried out to five games. "We went to five games with them. Tennent is a really good defensive team. They were good at picking up our hits. It was frustrating that we couldn't put the ball on the floor at times. It was a really close and intense match. The first time we played them in our home gym, it went to five games and we won.'
The Indians had fared better two nights earlier in another heated battle with their crosstown rival, CR South. North won in four games by scores of 25-20, 17-25, 25-21, 25-16. North's Hailey Burns had six kills, three digs and three blocks. Teammate Megan Hannagan recorded 11 kills and five blocks.
Prior to the match, the Indians knew they were facing a formidable foe. "We looked at it like we were going to play as aggressively as we could and take every opportunity to swing at the ball and try to have fun and run some plays we don't always run. Afterwards, we felt really good. We're excited about playing them again.'
With rematches against CR South and Pennsbury still on the horizon, the Indians know they need to stay focused. Leaders such as Alex will make sure they are prepped.