Broadwater Academy’s volleyball team has just one senior this year, but the team’s young age has not hampered its success on the court.
The Vikings (10-6) were ranked tenth in the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association’s Division III volleyball poll last week.
“We actually have done well,” said head coach Melissa “Missy” Murphy of her squad of 10 girls. “I think better than a lot of people thought we would do, so that’s encouraging.”
One of the big contributors on offense has been Anna Sexauer, an outside hitter who is one of five sophomores on the team. She and junior Heather Custis, a middle hitter, have consistently led in kills.
Before last Thursday’s 3-0 defeat at home to Williamsburg Christian, Sexauer had a season total of 83 kills.
She debuted on the varsity team last year and worked alongside fellow outside hitter and senior, Kathleen Kraft.
“We definitely miss the people from last year; Kathleen and Jenna (Hare) were really influential players for our team,” said Sexauer. “But we really fill the spots well, so it’s a different group of girls but we still give the same fight.”
The sophomore fought through some major adversity at the start of the volleyball season, just months after the passing of her father, Christopher.
Describing Sexauer’s father as her biggest cheerleader, Murphy said he would coach Sexauer and offer tips to help his daughter’s game.
“Her father really enjoyed watching her play ball, so for him to miss the season has been a big deal for her,” Murphy said. “She struggled but, I tell you what, she has improved since the beginning of the season and fought back and has done nothing but get better.”
In addition to advice she received via text messaging from Kraft, Sexauer said she owes her hitting progress this season to her head coach.
Murphy has been working with the powerful hitter on getting her shots to be more controlled and precise, she said.
“She’s helped me in the last couple of weeks especially to get my hit down, so now when I hit I know it’s either going to go in and it’s going to be hard or I’m going to strategically place it in,” Sexauer said.
The sophomore has also been improving on the back line and has tallied over 90 serves received this season.
This week, Sexauer and her teammates will compete in the Metro Conference Volleyball Tournament.
She is looking forward to competing against tough opponents, Williamsburg Christian and Denbigh Baptist, which defeated the Vikings, 3-1, the day before the loss to the Eagles, she said.
Despite the recent losses, the outside hitter who has worked diligently to contribute to her team this season, is confident Broadwater’s success will only continue.
“I feel like we could definitely do well and I feel like our team has the potential to either become first or second,” Sexauer said.