It was a Thursday morning and the Dreadnaughts were going through the paces inside the gym at Dexter High School. They had a scrimmage planned for later that night and had been practicing hard all week.
Head coach D’Ann Dunn was standing guard, keeping a close eye on her new team as they prepare for 2016.
What was most impressive was what Dunn didn’t say to her young team during an inter-squad scrimmage that wrapped up the two hour practice. There were no reminders of staying focused or keeping your eye on the ball – literally or figuratively.
It might only be August but the Dreadnaughts already appear focused on November.
“Our big goal is to win Districts but we want to set smaller goals along the way,” said Dexter senior captain Mary Gallagher following Thursday’s practice. “We set goals after every practice. Today our goal is to win the scrimmage tonight. We want to have all the goals geared toward playing our best at the end of the season.”
Gallagher, one of several key players back from last year’s 25-26 team, sees her role as an important part of the overall machine. And it’s a role her and fellow senior captain Sophie Kurcz are taking very seriously.
“I want to be a positive captain who encourages everyone to work hard and stress the team aspect,” Gallagher said. “I also want to help everyone know their role.”
Gallagher talks about playing as a team, being a family and trusting one another as key components for a successful year.
“We need to bond more as a team because I feel like in the past we didn’t always have that team atmosphere,” said Gallagher, who will play middle blocker for the Dreadnaughts. “I think heading into this season we are bonding more as a team and it’s a friendlier atmosphere than maybe there was last year at times.”
It’s all about trust.
“In volleyball it’s really important you trust one another and if you get to know someone and hang out with them it helps build trust. It’s important to have that appreciation and respect for one another both on and off the court.”
Kurcz, the team’s setter, has high expectations for this year’s team.
“I think it’s going to be a good season,” she said. “We are starting off the season as friends and everyone is very encouraging so I think we are off to a good start in that respect. We are all coming in with a positive attitude.”
Kurcz says the team has been working hard getting ready for the season.
“We are playing well as a team and supporting one another,” she said. “We have some young players on the team and they know that Mary and I are hear from them if they need help. It’s important to have good captains especially with so many younger players because they might not feel comfortable talking to the coach about something but will come to us for advice.”
Dexter opens the season Saturday, Aug. 20 at the Pioneer Tournament. Dexter hosts the SEC White Division Jamboree on Aug. 29 starting at 1 p.m. The Dreads’ first home match is Sept. 13 vs. Huron.