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September 18, 2012

Players knowing their roles leads to 14-3 start for Regina volleyball team

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Seniors on the Regina volleyball team, from left, Christina Osterhout, Monica Brugnoni, Natalie Slowiczek and Christine Palazzalo have helped the Saddlelites to a 14-3 start to the season.

WARREN — When asked to tout a couple of players on the Warren Regina volleyball team, coach Cindy Hison couldn’t single out just one or two.

“Everyone has contributed in some way. Everyone has a role, and they all play them really well,” said Hison, in her first year with the Saddlelites’ varsity squad.

“They all do their jobs. From our defensive specialists, to our setters, to our hitters, everyone on the roster has done something to help us win.”

That total team effort has led to Regina to a 14-3 record at press time. Some of those wins have come without starting players, as the team has experienced some injuries, according to Hison.

The first-year coach, who coached the freshman team last year and also played at Regina, said the group is back at 100 percent. Hison added the senior leadership of Christina Osterhout and Christina Palazzolo has played a role in the team’s success.

“The seniors have been really good role models for the juniors and sophomores,” Hison said. “They’ve been great about working with the younger players. That leadership, and having strong hitters and setters, has us where we are right now.”

Members of the team are pleased with how they’ve performed to this point, but they know the Saddlelites have a tough Catholic High School League Central Division slate, with two games each against Birmingham Marian, Farmington Hills Mercy and Livonia Ladywood.

Regina went 0-6 in league play last season.

“That’s really what we’ve been trying to get ready for is our league games,” junior middle hitter Erin Nelson said. “We know we can’t afford to let up, and we definitely can’t have anymore injuries.”

Palazzolo and Hison agreed the Saddlelites are looking to up the intensity in practice.

Palazzolo knows Regina has struggled in league games in recent years (Regina has never won a CL title), but believes the team has the ingredients to challenge in the league.

“I’d be shocked and very delighted if we could win our league,” the senior hitter said. “That’d mean a lot to us because that’s not something a lot of people would expect us to do.”

Regina’s next match is against Ladywood, set for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at Regina.