A year ago, the future of the Tunkhannock Area boys’ volleyball team was left in doubt.
Now, head coach Jeff Howell hopes to use this season as a preview of many winning seasons to come.
Howell, in his second year as head coach, was a sophomore the last time the Tigers won the district title in 1993 and has his sights set on getting the program’s name back on the high school gymnasium wall.
“We’re trying to rebuild the program,” Howell said. “We’ve doubled in size from last year and wanted to keep the program going with the tradition of volleyball that myself and my assistant had here. We’re trying to show that we want to keep this around.”
Last year’s varsity team fielded just eight players, all of which also played at the junior varsity level.
“Last year, the kids were playing at least six games each time they played,” Howell said. “Now the varsity players will have a chance to rest and focus. Hopefully we can win quite a few more games, especially because most of the kids who came out last year were new.”
One of the players Howell will look to for leadership is senior Adam Billings, who is one of the team’s setters. Senior Zac Brown, who played with Billings on the district champion soccer team in the fall, will also provide the Tigers with leadership.
With a stronger roster, Howell will spend the early weeks of practice teaching fundamentals to his team.
“We’re going over the basics right now to get them to realize that they have to learn that stuff and can’t just jump on the court and play,” Howell said. “Early practices will get back to the fundamentals of passing, hitting, setting and serving. We have that experience now to be hopeful for a better season than last year.”
Howell also increased his team’s experience by bringing back some of his former high school teammates to give the team some of their pointers of playing as Tigers.
“I wanted to show them how fun and exciting volleyball can be,” Howell said. “We’ll be going to tournaments and seeing teams that they’ve never seen before and those top caliber teams will hopefully improve our game play. I hope they have fun this year and get some wins under their belts, too.”
March 22, at Eastern Area Volleyball Tournament, TBA.
March 25, at North Pocono, 4:30 p.m.
March 27, Wyoming Area, 4:30 p.m.
April 1, Delaware Valley, 4:30 p.m.
April 3, at Berwick Area, 4:30 p.m.
April 7, Dallas, 4:30 p.m.
April 9, at Coughlin, 4:30 p.m.
April 15, at Lake-Lehman, 4:30 p.m.
April 17, Crestwood, 4:30 p.m.
April 22, at Hazleton, 4:30 p.m.
May 1, Holy Redeemer, 4:30 p.m.
May 6, at Wyoming Valley West, 4:30 p.m.
May 7, at Hanover Area, 4:30 p.m.
May 8, Nanticoke, 4:30 p.m.