With the loss of four senior starters and their coach Elizabeth “Scottie” Buron, Captains Shaye Horn ’10 and Morgan Marks ’10 imagined a bleak future for the varsity volleyball season ‘09. That is, until Cathleen Markowski arrived.
The new coach has created quite a buzz for the volleyball team. “I’m so excited for this season, especially as a four year senior, under someone who only coaches volleyball,” says Horn.
With focus solely on volleyball this fall, Coach Markowski came with a definite plan and, most importantly, experience – what Mrs. Markowski can offer to the volleyball team is inestimable.
Mrs. Markowski’s coaching experience began as a freshman at UMass Amherst and officially started as a career with the women’s volleyball team at Turners Falls High School. After four years and a 77W-17L record, Mrs. Markowski set out to coach the men’s and women’s volleyball teams at a division III . She raised their combined record from 4 to 33 wins.
Among the wins, she has also looked over the newly established Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year programs for women. Many players on the men’s team received post season awards, which is undeniably due in part to their effort, but also to Mrs. Markowski’s ability.
How does all of this history translate on the court? As Horn simply puts it, “She’s pushing us harder than any of us have been pushed at Deerfield.” If any player speaks the word, ‘can’t’, she will have to give 25 pushups (Mr. Flaska only asks for 10). Each practice under the coach’s eye forces every player to take more out of each drill.
In a scrimmage against Kingswood Oxford, Taft, Loomis, and Williston, the team played exceptionally well. The team’s new sophisticated offenses caught other teams off guard, simply because the plans were not generic. Horn, the setter, has up to 15 options of strategy, dictated by hand signals.
“There’s definitely a different feel about the [volleyball] program,” says Marks. “Mrs. Markowski is very dedicated to coaching and really intends to change the program in general.”
One such change is related to the junior varsity team. “I believe that if the two teams practice in a similar fashion and the effort is consistent, eventually, perhaps the next season, a few of the jv players could transition to the varsity level,” says Mrs. Markowski. Her words put to action, the jv team recently ran with the varsity team for practice, and volleyball coaches are creating plans to incorporate drills between the two teams.
Mrs. Markowski’s involvement with DA may expand to the softball team, but ultimately she hopes to coach volleyball for many seasons.
“I would like the volleyball teams to grow here at Deerfield,” Mrs. Markowski said. “I believe that with time and effort, we can continue the winning tradition.” And fortunately, she has a team willing to work, not just for New England’s, but for every practice.