Notre Dame’s newest addition, varsity and freshman head coach Holly McClean, is set to have a big impact on the 2019 freshman girls volleyball’s season. Over the years, the team has experienced a handful of different coaches, but the girls are hoping that McClean will stabilize the program for years to come.
McClean played volleyball all throughout high school as a setter and libero; after high school she then went on to play volleyball in college. One of her biggest achievements is that while a senior in high school, she finished fifth at the Junior Olympics.
Coach McClean not only is extremely experienced with the game, but also with coaching. She has coached for a total of 11 years, coaching girls as young as 12 as well as working for the volleyball program at Arizona State University.
Over the past five years, McClean has earned five junior national bids through USA Volleyball and most recently coached a 14 and under team that was ranked among the top 10 in the nation. With McClean’s background it is no wonder that Notre Dame Prep would be interested in securing her as a coach.
When McClean was asked what drew her to the coaching position at NDP, she said, “Many people I talked to said it was a special place to be. Also, being able to talk about faith in God…during the journey of the season is what I’ve always wanted to do.”
Team bonding is important to McClean, especially off the court. When McClean was asked what she felt were the strengths of this year’s team, she said, “we invest in each other off the court and care deeply about one another.” McClean sees a strong future for the team and already has goals set for the season.
Although the team has many strengths, McClean is also able to recognize areas of improvement for her team. When asked what are the areas her team will need to work on in order to overcome some of their past obstacles, she said, “defense, confidence; trusting that we have all the tools, and reducing unforced errors.”
The freshman volleyball team is an important asset to NDP athletics. This team contains players that will shape the future of the varsity and JV volleyball teams for the next three years. Therefore, it is crucial that these girls form a strong bond with each other so that they can work together on and off the court. When freshman Arianna Cioe was asked what the personality of her team is like, she said, “Our team motivates each other by saying positive speeches and being positive especially when we are losing.”
It is not only important that the players on the team bond with each other, but with the coach as well. Relationships between players and coaches play a key role on any sports team. In order to have a strong season, players must form a good relationship with their coach. Cioe said that her “favorite thing about the new coach is that she is not afraid to tell us what we need to fix. She gives it to us straight.”
The team is off to a good start with a 3-4 record consisting of wins against Casteel, Paradise Valley, and Ironwood. Although they have suffered four tough losses, the girls are still eager to make a comeback and have goals already set for the 2019 season.
When freshman Amelia Paul was asked what her and her teammates are most looking forward to this season, she said, “Our home game against Desert Mountain. I’m excited to make a comeback and beat them on our court.” The girls on the team seem determined to have a good season, especially with McClean there to guide them.