WAHS volleyball alumni come together for annual contest as current seniors look forward

Current Warren volleyball players gather with alumni following the annual alumni game at Warren Area High School, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. The current Lady Dragons, coming off a PIAA runner-up finish, topped the alumni in a fun and spirited match. Fall camp for the Lady Dragons opens Aug. 12.

“It’s harder to stay on top than it is to make the climb.” – Pat Summitt

In 2018, the Warren volleyball team finished the climb to the top of District 10, winning the program’s first ever D10 title. The Lady Dragons very nearly made it to the top of the state mountain as well.

As Warren prepares to open fall camp Aug. 12, it is about to find out just how hard it is to stay on top of the district mountain.

“We’re trying to keep the energy up and bring that momentum from last year into this year,” senior setter Lex Nyquist said.

During the offseason and summer conditioning program heading into the 2018 season, the Dragons knew they had all the pieces in place. They returned almost every player from a team that made it to the title game in 2017 and were loaded with senior talent. Warren challenged itself to find the toughest competition it could during the summer program and the result was a battle tested and cohesive unit ready to roll through the season.

Warren’s Lex Nyquist (5) goes up for a kill during the annual Warren Volleyball Alumni Match at Warren Area High School, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. After securing the program’s first District 10 title and finishing as the PIAA runner-up a season ago, Nyquist and the Lady Dragons are working hard to keep the momentum going into this season.

The Lady Dragons graduated six seniors from the 2018 team, including a pair of all-state selections, and bring in 10 freshmen this year. Lots of new faces.

But they still have plenty of returning talent as well. Nyquist also earned all-state honors, and holds the Dragons career and single-season assist record. Fellow senior Grace Wortman, outside hitter, is a steadying presence on the floor. Those two are more than ready to take up the leadership mantle.

“We’re excited,” Wortman said.

“We’ve been ready (to lead),” Nyquist added. “We knew we were going to take on a big role this year.”

In addition to the pair of seniors, junior middle hitter Jordan Sitler-a second-team all-region player in 2018-returns as well. The Lady Dragons will look for juniors Hannah Shattuck and Olivia English to take on bigger roles. Sophomores Katie Madigan, Halee Mineweaser and Meredith Morrison are also pushing to fill some of the voids left by those graduated players.

“We all fit a little differently,” Wortman said. “We started a little slow (in summer), but as the camps wore on we began to come together.”

Part of the summer program is getting incoming freshmen to become comfortable with their new teammates.

“We’re trying to hang out more and get the freshmen to open up,” Nyquist said.

Even with the new faces, the Lady Dragons are keeping their eye on the prize.

“The goal is always to win D-10,” Nyquist said. “If we play our game, we can get there again.”