Volleyball Wrap Up: Warriors Rebuild With High Hopes For 2023


Clarion photo Ellie Usher and Dylan Wise

Team comes in to celebrate a point.

Cleveland’s volleyball program navigated a rebuilding season in 2022, with no seniors and two returning varsity players, but they were successful in that rebuild and expect bigger things in 2023.

The Warriors finished with an 8-17 overall record, with six of those wins achieved in PIL play. They had two notable win streaks, with their first win of the season over Roosevelt leading to two more wins at the Cascade tournament (Seaside and Sweet Home); and another three game streak late in PIL play over Roosevelt, Benson, and Franklin.

On the first streak, co-captain Sophia Wynn said, “it felt good to start off the season winning two games with a whole new team and only having two returning varsity players. It felt pretty good just to start off the season strong and have that good team chemistry starting off.”

Freshman setter Charlotte Gardner emerged as a core piece of the program’s future during the Cascade Tournament, recording 48 assists and 25 digs en route to a player-of-the-week nomination from Scorebook Live. Between Gardner and all-league honorable mention Karina Lee, the Warriors had two freshmen step up in varsity roles.

On the success later in the season, the Warriors other co-captain, Addi Pierce, said, “It felt really good because this was definitely a rebuilding year for us. We lost a lot of our really playmaking players, so I felt like towards the end of the season we really started to click.”

Wynn agreed, saying, “Yeah, it felt really good to finally get that click back having no seniors and also our whole team being pretty young. It felt nice that we have that to start off next season having 14 players returning, so we’ll start off clicking better.”

That streak came from the Warriors adjusting to new teammates and new positions, and that is progress they will carry into next season when they return 14 out of 15 players, including eight seniors. In a season where the team was consciously building for the future, they still finished fifth out of nine in a top-heavy PIL because of that winning streak.

Wynn and Pierce believe the team has found a winning mentality that they can tap into more consistently in 2023.

“For our whole team it’s just keeping up our communication and really going for everything and putting in our full force effort,” said Wynn.
Pierce echoed that goal, saying, “as a program I want to work on bringing our energy to every game no matter what, and being able to hold that energy throughout the entire game.”

With a less unpredictable team next year, the Warriors are able to set much clearer goals.

When asked if the 14 returners give Cleveland an advantage next year, Pierce gave a call to action, saying, “Definitely yes, most of us are playing club this year and we’re putting in the work, and so next season I think we’re gonna go far so make sure to get our game times on your calendar so you can come next year.”