Volleyball Team Wins Conference Title

Senior Emma Holmes (left) and freshman Madelyn Dorenbusch share a private joke while awaiting a serve from Valley Park in the first set on Friday in Brentwood. Players say team chemistry has helped the Eagles win this year. (All photos by Steve Bowman)
Senior Emma Holmes (left) and freshman Madelyn Dorenbusch share a private joke while awaiting a serve from Valley Park in the first set on Friday in Brentwood. Players say team chemistry has helped the Eagles win this year. (All photos by Steve Bowman)

No rebuilding after all; freshmen step up

 
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
Email: bowmansj@sbcglobal.net

The Brentwood High School volleyball program has won its conference for the fourth time in six years.

The Eagles made quick work of Valley Park on Friday at BHS to finish with a 7-1 record in the South Central Athletic Association Conference. They’ll complete their regular season hosting Maplewood-Richmond Heights on Oct. 12, senior night.

No. 3 seeded Brentwood will play No. 6 Cleveland NJROTC in the Class 2 District 4 playoffs at 7 p.m. Oct. 19 at BHS. The winner will play either No. 2 MRH or No. 7 Carnahan at 6 p.m. Oct. 20 at BHS. See the seeding below. To see the game schedule on the MSHSAA website, click here.

Varsity players are cheered by a line of junior varsity teammates before the Valley Park match on Friday.
Varsity players are cheered by a line of junior varsity teammates before the Valley Park match on Friday.

7-1 in conference

Despite having won the league in 2013 and 2014, Brentwood was not exactly heavily favored to do it again this year. Two months ago they started practice with a new head coach and all but four of the 17 players either freshmen or sophomores. “Extremely young” is how coach Marissa DeHoyos described them.

Knowing how accustomed to winning Brentwood volleyball fans have become, DeHoyos might have been sending a warning when she told the Brentwood Spirit in August, “Yes, we’d love to have a winning record but it doesn’t always happen, especially with a young team.”

Two weeks later in the first league match, against Crossroads, Brentwood lost the first set by nine points. It looked as if the bitter lessons of a rebuilding season had begun. But the Eagles bounced back and narrowly won the next two sets for the victory.

In the following weeks came wins over Hancock, Bayless, Crossroads again at Crossroads, and Valley Park. The Eagles were 5-0 in the South Central before finally losing in three sets to Hancock, but they took care of business in the final two matches, Bayless and Valley Park. With four of their eight league matches requiring three sets, they weren’t as airtight as last year when the team never lost a set. But hey, a league title is a league title.

“At the beginning of the season I was saying it’d be a rebuilding season and might not go that great,” said senior Kate Gilmore. “But it’s surprised me how much we’ve won and I’m proud of everyone.”

Gilmore thinks the biggest win was at Crossroads.

“We beat them twice,” she said. “We beat them at their home in two games, which was really nice.”

Kate Gilmore rounds up volleyballs used in warmups before the varsity match with Valley Park.
Kate Gilmore rounds up volleyballs used in warmups before the varsity match with Valley Park.

3 freshmen starters, good chemistry

The Eagles’ varsity roster is unconventional, with three seniors, five sophomores and three freshmen. All three freshmen — Madelyn Dorenbusch, Maggie Callihan and Meghan Haug — play extensively.

“Maggie and Meghan are starters and Maddy is a Libero, so basically there are three freshmen starters,” said DeHoyos.

A big key to Brentwood’s success has been how well the older players have gotten along with the younger ones.

“Their names were sort of hard to learn because they all start with M — Maddy, Meghan and Maggie,” senior Emma Holmes said with a smile. “But we were able to quickly bond. We knew them before volleyball season and I think the bonds we created with everybody then and during the season helped us. Especially with the freshmen — they were really cooperative and positive and picked up on things fast.”

Said Gilmore, “Maddy Dorenbusch has stepped up a lot as our freshman Libero. She has really shown herself.”

Said DeHoyos, “I’ve heard the freshmen say, ‘The seniors have been so welcoming to us,’ and you really see that on the court. The freshmen are stepping up and taking leadership roles because the seniors want them to. They want them to excel. It’s not a competition like ‘I’m a senior, you’re a freshman.’ Everybody is there for one common goal.”

Madelyn Dorenbusch (center) and teammates celebrate scoring a point in the second set with Valley Park.
Madelyn Dorenbusch (center) and teammates celebrate scoring a point in the second set with Valley Park.
Maggie Callihan takes aim in warmups.
Maggie Callihan takes aim in warmups.
Meghan Haug warms up before the Valley Park match.
Meghan Haug warms up before the Valley Park match.

Impressive start

Tops in the conference and with an overall record of 16-10-2, DeHoyos is doing pretty well for her first year as the head coach of a high school varsity team. She credits the success to her players.

“It’s all on them,” she said. “They’re really open to try anything I ask them to. They want to improve. They don’t want to just coast through; they want to know what they’re doing wrong, when they’re doing wrong and how they can do better, which is amazing for a coach. As they’ve been welcoming to the freshmen, they’ve also been very welcoming to me, letting me to know what their traditions are, if they want to try something new, stuff like that.”

Marissa DeHoyos smiles at a comment from one of her players during warmups.
Marissa DeHoyos smiles at a comment from one of her players during warmups. Though she grew up in Chicago, she’s rooting for the Cardinals over the Cubs in the playoffs because, “I’m a White Sox fan.”

BHS volleyball conference finishes since 2010
2015: 1st
2014: 1st
2013: 1st
2012: 3rd
2011: 2nd
2010: 1st

Joking around before the Valley Park match are (from left) Gabby Gombas, Caroline Snare and Anna Blomstrom.
Joking around before the Valley Park match are (from left) Gabby Gombas, Caroline Snare and Anna Blomstrom.

Brentwood’s 2015 conference matches
1-1 vs. Hancock:
Sept. 11: Won 20-25, 25-19, 26-24
Sept. 29: Lost 14-25, 25-19, 26-24
2-0 vs. Crossroads:
Sept. 2: Won 16-25, 26-24, 25-21
Sept. 18: Won 25-21, 26-24
2-0 vs. Bayless:
Sept. 15: Won 22-25, 25-17, 26-24
Oct. 2: Won 25-20, 25-16
2-0 vs. Valley Park:
Sept. 22: Won 25-22, 25-23
Oct. 9: Won 25-17, 25-8

Tori Brotherton serves to Valley Park in the first set.
Tori Brotherton serves to Valley Park in the first set.

Seeding for Class 2, District 4 playoffs at BHS
1. Principia, 14-6-1
2. Maplewood-Richmond Heights, 18-7-2
3. Brentwood, 16-10-2
4. Hancock, 14-8-2
5. Valley Park, 2-20-1
6. Cleveland NJROTC, 2-11
7. Carnahan, 3-3

Emma Holmes serves in the first set against Valley Park.
Emma Holmes serves in the first set against Valley Park.

BHS varsity roster
Seniors: Kate Gilmore, Emma Holmes, Tori Brotherton.
Sophomores: Anna Blomstrom, Gabby Gombas, Jenny Laseter, Caroline Snare, Caroline Vandervoort.
Freshmen: Madelyn Dorenbusch, Maggie Callihan, Meghan Haug.

BHS junior varsity roster
Juniors: Kayla Dillard, Natalie Featherston.
Sophomores: Anna Blomstrom, Gabby Gombas, Jenny Laseter, Caroline Vandervoort, Amanda Vanden Hoek, Isabelle Zoellner.
Freshmen: Mackenzie Baum, Lindsey Trieu.

Kate Gilmore goes up for a big hit.
Kate Gilmore goes up for a big hit. Her front-row hitting has been a big part of Brentwood’s offense.
Caroline Snare goes up unchallenged by Valley Park in the first set.
Caroline Snare’s hit goes unchallenged in the first set. She and Kate Gilmore have scored countless points for the Eagles this season.
Tori Brotherton takes aim in the first set.
Tori Brotherton takes aim in the first set.
Brentwood's bench stomps (above) and kicks (photo below) to celebrate a point. They are (from left) Anna Blomstrom, Jenny Lasseter, Gabby Gombas and Madelyn Dorenbusch.
Brentwood’s bench stomps (above) and kicks (photo below) to celebrate a point. They are (from left) Caroline Vandervoort, Anna Blomstrom, Jenny Laseter, Gabby Gombas and Madelyn Dorenbusch.

DSC_1259 Bench kick 2nd

Meghan Haug serves in the second set against Valley Park.
Meghan Haug serves in the second set against Valley Park.
Kate Gilmore redirects the ball to her left side.
Kate Gilmore redirects the ball to her left side.
Coach Marissa DeHoyos hits the ball to her players in warmups.
Coach Marissa DeHoyos hits the ball to her players in warmups.

Photos from JV win over Valley Park

Anna Blomstrom and teammates huddle before the match.
Anna Blomstrom and teammates huddle before the match.
Kayla Dillard serves.
Kayla Dillard serves.
GabbyGombas warms up before the match.
GabbyGombas warms up before the match.
Jenny Laseter (left) enters the game as Mackenzie Baum comes out.
Following the regular rotation, Jenny Laseter (left) enters the game as Mackenzie Baum comes out.
Jenny Laseter serves.
Jenny Laseter serves.
Lindsey Trieu chats with Kayla Dillard.
Lindsey Trieu chats with Kayla Dillard.
Anna Blomstrom makes a hit.
Anna Blomstrom makes a hit.
Natalie Featherston prepares to serve.
Natalie Featherston prepares to serve.
Isabelle Zoellner aims the ball over the net.
Isabelle Zoellner aims the ball over the net.
Caroline Vandervoort gets a solid hit.
Caroline Vandervoort gets a solid hit.
During a timeout coach Marissa DeHoyos talks to players who include Lindsey Trieu (left) and Mackenzie Baum.
During a timeout coach Marissa DeHoyos talks to players who include Lindsey Trieu (left) and Mackenzie Baum.
Jenny Laseter positions herself for a hit.
Jenny Laseter positions herself for a hit.
Natalie Featherston blocks a Valley Park shot.
Natalie Featherston blocks a Valley Park shot.
Caroline Vandervoort is in good position to return the ball.
Caroline Vandervoort is in good position to return the ball.
Gabby Gombas makes contact.
Gabby Gombas makes contact.

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