29060796143_42c9df05e9_bStory by Trey Martin, photo by GoFlashWin

 

After victories over Irmo and Spring Valley, the Dutch Fork volleyball team finished fourth in region, qualifying the girls for the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

“It is a big achievement. It’s taken us five years to get back to recognition. It gives us great opportunities to bring back our program,” head coach Sylvia Goldston said.

The accomplishment is special for the players and coaches, who have spent months working together to find success as a team.

“It feels great to make it to playoffs this year. We put in the work, so we definitely deserve to be here,” senior April Prijoles said.

The program has been on the rise since Goldston took over in 2013. The coach has gone to great lengths to build the team into what it has become, making coaching changes and even going as far as pulling middle school players to play at the high school level.

“We went out with the old and brought in two new coaches including my daughter, and we are trying to teach them leadership and hard work and give them opportunities they didn’t have before,” Goldston said.

As the program has begun to rise, so has the chemistry shared between teammates. The girls pick each other up after a bad play, persevering through each set.

“My strongest element would probably be being able to pick my team up when they are feeling down in a game. It is easy to make a mistake and get inside of your head. I hold myself accountable to make sure my teammates are ready to execute the next play, instead of thinking about a previous mistake,” April said.

The senior class has been with Goldston the entire way, buying into her system and working hard.

“We have become more and more coachable. Coach Raveen and Coach Goldston continue to push us hard in practice to be physically capable as well as mentally capable to execute their teachings during our games this season, and as a team we really buy into what they say to us,” April said.

The wins on the court have also brought attention to the team. Earlier in October, senior Mya Coleman was named the WLTX Player of the Week.

“Winning Player of the Week means a lot to me because it means that my hard work and talent is being recognized,” Mya said.

The results could not come without practice. This years team has upped their game by watching film and even holding extra practices.

“We are going to take it to the next level. We will be giving more strategy on the opponents ahead of us. Good eye work. A lot of hard hitting,” Goldston said.

The team has experienced an increase in production on defense, which has made the group more well rounded. The girls all are proud of the progress the team has made, describing the team as hard working and determined.

“In every single practice we have pushed each other to become a better athlete. We didn’t let last season stop us from working hard this season to make it to playoffs,” April said. “I’m proud of my team for working so hard. Making it to playoffs is worth every suicide and wall sit.”