Seaholm junior captain Maddy Ligon gets low to the floor to return a serve at a recent practice. Ligon captains the team along with senior Anna Osborne.

Seaholm junior captain Maddy Ligon gets low to the floor to return a serve at a recent practice. Ligon captains the team along with senior Anna Osborne.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Seaholm volleyball young, but ready to make a run

By: Edward Zilincik | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published September 10, 2018


BIRMINGHAM — Playing in the top division of the Oakland Activities Association has its challenges for Birmingham Seaholm volleyball coach Heather Gambone.

Last season, the Maples finished around .500 in the OAA Red Division. Seaholm lost five players from that squad to graduation.

The Maples will only have two seniors on this incarnation of the squad, understandably leaving the program a touch inexperienced.

“This is going to be a rebuild-type year for us this season,” said Gambone. “We are asking kids without a ton of experience to play at a high level in the best division in the OAA.”

Gambone is excited for the possibilities that having this young of a team might entail for her this season and in the coming years.

“This might sound crazy, but this is a great thing to have as a coach,” she said. “Watching the players you coach grow up before your eyes makes you proud.”

Come the end of the season, Gambone expects the team to be much improved.

Currently, though, Gambone wants to ensure the team grows and improves with each passing day. Right now the team just has the bare bones of a strong foundation, in the coach’s opinion.

“Whether it’s improvement within a match or within a practice, we want to find a win in every day,” Gambone said.

Anna Osborne is a senior captain for the Maples this season. She is hoping to lead the team to as much success as possible in her last season at Seaholm, but does understand that there are other facets of volleyball and team sports that she is hoping to help construct going forward.

“We are hoping to help reestablish and reinvent the volleyball culture here at Seaholm,” said Osborne. “We want to unite the younger players and get young female athletes excited about volleyball.”

This season’s team is a close-knit group, in Osborne’s opinion. She is hoping the team remains close throughout a season that could have its fair share of turmoil.

“Too often, volleyball teams have the talent but not the will to win,” said Osborne. “I’m confident that we are entering this season ready to play our hardest.”

Osborne additionally realizes the responsibilities that she and fellow captain, junior Maddy Ligon, will have this season.

“The season is long, and it can be difficult for players to keep up the intensity with all the curveballs high school kids have,” Osborne said. “However, I am confident we will know what to say to keep us confident far into November.”

As for her coach, Osborne believes Gambone is just the right person for this situation.

“She is just as confident as we are that we will meet the challenge. Plus, her knowledge of the sport and commitment to improving the team makes her the perfect coach for us,” Osborne said.

Gambone, who has led the program for 12 years, is looking to continue the success she’s seen so far in her career.

“Every year, we have girls compete at the collegiate level, which is great, but we also want to continue to have a good culture for players on all of our three teams,” said Gambone of her varsity, JV and freshman squads. “Always, though, I’m hoping we as a program win a conference title, a state tournament and have some long runs in the state tournament.”