With just three seniors on the 2015 squad, the girl’s volleyball team came into the season relying on a host of younger players on the court.
The seniors; Ally Herron, Christina Strough and Joana Ostrowski all spent significant time on the court for the Pirates, who finished with a 19-12 record.
The 19 wins are the most for the program since winning 18 matches in 2011.
Even though the Pirates are graduating just three seniors, all three leave very big shoes to fill both on and off the court.
“Determination, never giving up, not settling to be mediocre and going hard at every practice,” head coach Sara Skvir said of her senior class. “I’m only losing 3 seniors, but they are big shoes to fill and the underclass girls need to step up their game for next season.”
Cinnaminson plays in two conferences, the West Jersey Volleyball League and the Olympic Conference, which makes their schedule one of the toughest in South Jersey in terms of opponents faced and games played.
At one point, the Pirates played eight games in 10 days, including a tough match at home against a talented Moorestown squad.
“It was nice to play tougher competition. Everything about our game improved through our last match,” Skvir said. “Playing stronger teams helped us to see our weaknesses and we improved on those aspects as the season wore on.”
Outside of two regular season matches with Moorestown, the Pirates also had matches against Rancocas Valley, Camden Catholic, Sterling and Seneca.
“Between scrimmages, tournaments and regular season, we played them (Rancocas Valley) multiple times,” Skvir said. “They are a strong team, it was always a challenge for us and tested us not only physically, but mentally as well. With the exception of one game, we played very well against them.”
The first Sterling match was a 2-0 loss, but the second was one of the best wins the Pirates enjoyed en route to their 19 on the year.
“The first time we played them, they dominated both games,” Skvir said. “Second time around at our place, it was an intense back and forth game that ended in victory for us. The girls played hard and fought through every point.”
Senior night saw the Pirates host Camden Catholic, who had defeated Cinnaminson 2-1 earlier in the season. The Pirates won the opening set, 25-19, but fell in consecutive sets to drop the match 2-1.
Despite the loss late in the regular season, girl’s volleyball was in position to earn a playoff spot. The Pirates received the 20-seed in the Group 2 Tournament.
The team traveled to 13-seed Rumson-Fair Haven, falling 2-0 to end the season. Despite falling in two sets, the Pirates showed the determination Coach Skvir spoke of earlier.
“The girls stopped giving up early on. If we were down a few points, we would struggle with getting our heads back in the game. By the end of the season we were able to refocus, dig deep, and fight back to get us back in the game.”
“It really showed in our playoff game against Rumson-Fair Haven. Set two we were down 21-9, and we fought back one point at a time. Even though we didn’t win, the final score was 25-19.”
The playoff appearance this year was the fifth in the last six years for the girl’s volleyball squad.