Archer’s Varsity Volleyball team ended the 2014-2015 season in second place in the CIF Liberty League and has been training since the end of the summer to prepare for the competitive season ahead.
Senior Christian Luhnow ’16 and Junior Sophie Smyth ’17 stepped up as captains this year to lead a team of 12 players including four new varsity members.
In an interview with the Oracle, Luhnow and Smyth shared their goals for the season and more about the Varsity team.
Why do you like playing volleyball?
SS: I love playing volleyball because I think it’s a very fun and competitive sport that encourages positivity and teamwork.
CL: I love the sport because I love the team aspect of it — working with a team to achieve common goals. Being a tennis player early on, I was a singles player and when I found volleyball I instantly fell in love with it because of the team aspect.
How has the season been going so far?
SS: The season has been going really well. Our team has connected and bonded both on and off the court and I think we have a lot of potential in our league games, although we haven’t started yet.
CL: We’re really excited. We’re still in pre-season, but we’re getting ready for a competitive season ahead of us.
What do you hope to accomplish as a team this season?
CL: This season, we want to go undefeated in league, which is one of our goals we set. We also want to win one of the two tournaments, either the Milken or the Brentwood tournament. We’re shooting for our goals.
SS: We also want to bring more attention to the volleyball program because our team does have a lot of capability and potential. We want the Archer community more involved.
What is the team’s routine on a typical practice?
SS: We first start by warming up – dynamic warm-ups.
CL: We work on the things that the coaches saw in a match that we need to work on or we do drills. Usually 30 minutes before the end of practice, we scrimmage, which is the most fun.
What is it like to be leading a team with four new varsity players?
SS: It’s been really great. They really add to the strong dynamic of the team.
CL: We love the new additions. It feels like they have always been a part of the team.
What are you both doing as captains to help the team bond with one another?
CL: I recently hosted a team barbeque for the coaches, players and the parents all together. It was a really fun afternoon. We had music playing, dinner and talked about the upcoming season. It was a great bonding experience.
SS: We’ve had team bonding meetings at lunch where we would make some posters and think of ways to promote our team to the Archer community. We also spend a lot of time on the bus traveling to different locations for games, or even for practice. We spend a lot of time together and we’ve created a close bond as a team.
Varsity Assistant Coach Lainey Gera is a new addition to the Archer volleyball program. How has she impacted the team so far?
CL: I’m so excited to have Coach Lainey as one of our coaches this season. She is one of the reasons why I love volleyball. She really got me into playing when she was my coach for my 15s club season. I’m so glad to have her at Archer this season.
SS: She has been a positive influence on our team and is very inspiring. She is a great volleyball player herself and it’s fun to have a coach who loves the game as much as you do.
How would you describe the coaching dynamic between Coach Jonathan Lotz and Coach Lainey Gera?
SS: Coach Lainey and Coach Lotz work well as a team to coach us. They are both great coaches.
CL: They know how to have fun sometimes and know when to be strict. They have a good balance between discipline and having fun.
By the end of the season, what legacies do you hope to leave behind as captains?
CL: I want my teammates to remember how I made them feel on and off the court. I want to leave great memories behind.
SS: I want to keep the amazing players we have this year along with the positive attitude and bring it to next year’s season. Although we haven’t started the league season yet, we want to continue to reach our full potential as a team.