New volleyball program to take the court at George Stevens Academy

The GSA varsity volleyball team

The 2016 George Stevens Academy volleyball team includes, in front from left, Emma Weed, Zephyr Martin, Marena Koenka, Lynn Holman and Lucy Morison. In back, from left, are Ashelee Barnes, Melanie Hipsky, Yvonne Rogers, Erika Hipsky and Naaki. Lehto. Missing from photo are Lillie Maier, Mackenzie Tapley and Maya Pelletier. Photo courtesy of George Stevens Academy

BLUE HILL—The George Stevens Academy athletics department has added a new varsity sport to its fall roster with the addition of a volleyball team. The team, which currently consists of about 13 players, will compete in Class B North, as volleyball teams in the state only play within two classes, A and B. George Stevens Academy athletics, in general, compete in Class C North.

Volleyball has been a club sport at the school for two years, as is the requirement for the addition of a new sport at a school under the Maine Principals Association guidelines.

“We required [the program] to have 15 people playing on a consistent basis last year,” said athletic director Larry Gray. “The girls were able to do that, and we were able to convince the board to get it to the varsity level.”

Coaches Bonnie Marckoon and Maria Woodward are both newcomers to the coaching world; however, both have backgrounds in the sport.

“Maria is so good with the technical stuff because she used to play, so she can teach the girls the fundamentals through drills and whatnot,” said Marckoon while her team practiced Thursday, September 1. “I know a bit about the sport in general because both my daughters played and my husband is a referee.”

Marckoon said that being able to go over the basics is essential for her team, as the players have experience levels ranging from a few years to only a few days since the season started in mid-August.

“Most of the girls have never played an organized game of volleyball outside of club scrimmages. A couple of them have never even played the sport before this year.” —Coach Bonnie Marckoon

Marckoon added that while the differences in experience might make practices a little more interesting, the idea of teaching and reteaching fits nicely with the coaching style she and Woodward share.

“We both want to coach from the basics on up. So, regardless of where the girls are at experience-wise, I think its good to coach them all at the same level,” she said.

Marckoon said she did not have any expectations coming into the season, but after having watched the girls practice over the last couple of weeks she is excited about what she has seen so far.

“These girls are all so dedicated. They work hard every single day in practice. I think we’ll be competitive with most of the teams we face.” —Coach Bonnie Marckoon

The teams George Stevens Academy will face include Bucksport, Ellsworth, Calais, Jonesport-Beals, and Wells.

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