Volleyball is a relatively new sport in Windham, but after making it to the playoffs last year as the eighth seeded team out of 11, the girls are excited to be part of the squad. Heading into their third season, they have already gained enough of a following with student athletes that they will have to cut some of the girls who try out for the team, according to athletic director at Windham High School Rich Drummond.
“It’s a very young team to Windham and for them to work together on their first year as varsity to make the playoffs, there’s an opportunity for us to be really great,” said parent Lisa Potvin.
“Julie Dugas and Terry Coggins Bickford were the brain behind the volleyball team getting started. They had girls that didn't want to play soccer or field hockey. Ashley Marble was our first-year coach and did a great job getting us off the ground and into the league,” Potvin said.
The first year the team played a JV schedule and last year played varsity teams from the area that also have volleyball teams. It doesn’t follow the same classifications as other sports, she said.
This year the coach is Scott Rush-Donohue, who was unavailable for comment on his team and their success. It is anticipated that more than 50 girls will try out for the team that will only carry a total of 28 this year. The team is also searching for a junior varsity coach.
“Fifty is just too many girls to coach,” said Potvin.
The main challenge for the volleyball team is not the competition, though that keeps them on their toes as well, but the fundraising. Volleyball and ice hockey are the only two teams that are not fully funded by RSU 14. “It is recognized as a sport thought the school and they have a ability to qualify for tournament play through MPA (Maine Principals Association),” said Drummond.
As far as funding goes, Drummond said, “It’s always difficult to have to look at ways to get creative and to trim the budget to meet our commitments. In an ideal world it would be ideal to have both volleyball and ice hockey funded through the district.”
Parents are anticipating the need to raise $10,000 to fund both the varsity and junior varsity teams. “That’s a lot of car washes,” said Potvin.
In addition to car washes, the team had a booth at Summerfest, has an agreement with Patman’s Redemption to collect cans and put them in an account, hosted a volleyball clinic for girls in grades 5 to 8, and plan to hold a spaghetti supper this fall. To date they have raised $3,800.
“It’s such a great group, that get’s along. There is competitiveness, but not against each other. They get along and have fun,” Potvin said.
Preseason will begin August 19. Rush-Donohue plans to have the teams chosen by August 23. Their first game is September 7, 9 a.m. for JV and 10:30 a.m. for varsity.