NEW BERLIN – After winning the MAC title last year, the Unadilla Valley Volleyball team looked forward to a brighter 2022 season. This time with first-time head coach Shannon McIntyre.
The Storm went 9-0 in the regular season before battling it out with Oxford in the MAC title game, again like last year, but this time they fell short.
They finished 11-2 overall with the loss to Oxford and Tioga in the sectional championship. Despite the loss that ended the season, the team worked hard in being successful and only can be proud of themselves.
McIntyre attributes the success to everyone, including many key returners.
“What drove our success was the excitement from a great season last year and knowing how much potential we still had to fulfill this year from it. With only losing a few seniors last year, we still had most of our team returning this season which gave us a phenomenal starting point to begin our season on,” she said. “A lot of focus went into building off of the solid foundation we started out with to reach a higher level of thinking and playing. We strived to expand our abilities in the game both physically and mentally to push past limits we faced in previous years.”
It is unsure who stood out the most for the Storm, because everyone contributed to the success.
“We never knew exactly who would have the most stats each game because it could have, and usually was, just about anyone and everyone. That has been one of our biggest strengths as a team is having such a variety of skill spread throughout the team, which always gave us options for any game scenario we faced,” McIntyre said. “Our success as a team has never been measured by any title won or banner hung on a wall. The countless hours of hard work put in and endless hunger for a challenge is what has always defined us.”
McIntyre, who had a tenure as the varsity assistant coach, appreciated stepping up as the head coach this season to lead a team full of dedicated girls.
“I could not have asked for a better group of girls to have had the pleasure of coaching for my first official season. As a coach and former player, I always tried my best to lead with a lot of passion, enthusiasm, and love for the game to create a very contagious high-energy atmosphere for the rest of the team to feed off of,” she said. “There is no better feeling than getting to share that with a team full of players that show up bringing the same amount of energy and level of dedication each and every day. At the end of the day, our main take-away has always been the appreciation for the opportunity to share such special moments together centered around a game we all love so dearly. I wish I had the right words to accurately express how proud I feel to have been a part of the program this year and to have shared it with this team.”
She also appreciates the commitment from the 10 seniors this season. Camryn Edgett, Kate Conway, Maddie Sayles, Bella Jones, Ashlyn Lyons, Allison Allen, Erica Mumbulo, Hudson Lyons, MacKenzie Acre, and Shannon Kelly will be missed and leave big shoes to fill.
“There is so much that will be greatly missed from this senior class. It’s rare that you have such a huge group from the same class that sticks with a sport for so many years, and losing that many players based on the number alone is bound to hurt any program. However, this group of girls are not just a number, they have been the core of our program for many years now for a multitude of reasons,” she said.
“They have dedicated an unimaginable amount of time, effort, and passion into this sport that has helped push our program to the next level from the bottom up. The work they have put in all year round each year has continued the progress of our program even outside of the regular season. They all contribute to an undeniable enthusiasm and intensity that our team is known for, which is fueled by their immeasurable amount of love for the game. They are not only phenomenal players, but an incredible group of individuals that will be so greatly missed both on and off the court. Likewise, their parents and families have dedicated just as much and we could not have done what we have without their endless support.”
While it is bittersweet to see them go, McIntyre knows she will be left with a young team next year, but is not discouraged as there is potential from all levels of the UV Volleyball program.
“ Despite losing a large and significant chunk of our team, there is just as much potential for years to come that has been very exciting to observe. A big focus of this year, aside from utilizing our last year with these seniors, has been for the returning players to learn as much as they can from that group to best prepare for their absence when they are gone,” she said. “We have seen and experienced such significant growth throughout all levels of our program that will make the rebuilding process very exciting.”
McIntyre credits the success of this season and the strength of the UV Volleyball program as a whole on the flow of interested players whom the Storm continue to attract.
“The team’s undeniable success alone has attracted a lot of attention both in and outside of our league that I think many have enjoyed following along with. However, regardless of team success, our program is based around inspiring and nurturing a love for the game of volleyball, as well as the appreciation for the process of growth and learning,” she said. “Coach Mackey and I have a coaching dynamic that is hard to disregard because of the contagious enthusiasm and evident passion we offer and share. The program is an exciting one to be a part of, and the growth of everyone involved in it is very apparent.”
McIntyre anticipates seeing what her team can do next year, where the success should continue if they put in the work.
“Our hope is that these values, which our program and coaching style is based around, as well as the success of the team, will continue to fuel the current and upcoming players’ desire for improvement,” she said. “However, much time and dedication is willing to be devoted by future players in the offseason will be the biggest deciding factor in our success going forward.”
Congratulations to the 2022 UV Storm Volleyball team.