PORTSMOUTH — When the upcoming volleyball season commences, Notre Dame will be under new leadership. But make no mistake about it, the same expectations the Titans have always had will still be set in stone.
Stepping in for departed coach Kelsey Glockner will be Cassidy Roney, an Eastern graduate that’s already familiar with SOC volleyball. Roney takes over a team that finished 21-6 overall last season after ending its year with a loss in a Division IV regional final.
“I was involved in the school doing some student-teaching this past school year and when they told me they were looking for a volleyball coach, I knew it would be a perfect fit for me,” Roney said. “I am very excited for this opportunity to be a part of such a successful program in such a wonderful school.”
As coach, Roney’s journey is just beginning. But as a player, her story tells itself.
She was an imperative part to a high school team that won four straight district titles. Eastern played in a regional final every year in which Roney was an Eagle. In 2012, Roney’s junior year, Eastern won a regional title and fell in a state semifinal — a five-set match against Kidron Central Christian.
“I was a part of a very successful program in high school, winning the SOC every year, making it as far as the regional finals every year, as well as making it to the state tournament when I was a junior,” Roney said. “I’ve been involved in volleyball since I was in sixth grade, playing club and school volleyball.”
As the Titans’ head coach, Roney will have plenty of experience returning to her team.
“I see a lot of leadership in my seniors, especially Cassie Schaefer, Taylor Schmidt, and Sophia Hassel,” Roney said. “I look for them to be my on-court coaches throughout the season.”
Schaefer, Schmidt and Hassel will be joined by returners Claire Dettwiller and Joyce Zheng, alongside Ava Hassel, who was forced to sit last season due to injury.
That group brings plenty of firepower and, according to many, has the potential to find itself right back at the regional level.
“The girls had a very successful season last year and they are returning a lot of talent,” Roney said. “My expectations for this season are that we will do just as well as last season, if not better. The girls are very set on making it as far in the tournament as they did last year and I believe they will do just that.”
To do it, they’ll rely on their leaders. Schaefer passed out 763 assists last season, Sophia Hassel logged 131 kills and Schmidt tallied 78 kills, 27 aces and 210 digs.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
“Off-season workouts are going well so far,” Roney said. “The girls work very hard and they work well together. Our front row is strong, we have very strong hitters and a solid setter.”
The Titans begin their season, and Roney makes her head coaching debut, on Aug. 24 at South Webster’s Jeep Invitational.
“As a team, one of our goals is to get back to the regional level and even further,” Roney said. “To make that happen, the girls have to work hard and work together. We need to focus on each game individually and take the season day-by-day while also thinking about our long-term goals.”
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