by Becky Kimbrell-Norris
WAKE FOREST — Winning has been anything but easy for the Heritage High School girls volleyball team.
The Huskies have posted just three wins in their three-year history, and while the team has had a rough beginning, head coach Branden Green believes better things are yet to come.
Green and his 2013 team are looking to turn the Huskies into a contender in the Cap 8 Conference.
With a roster of 11 players who are anxious to put the Huskies on a winning path, expectations are high this season.
“It’s a process, and we’re getting better every day,” Green said. “We’re working and playing hard and being the best team that we can be.”
“They’re hungry and they want to win,” he added.
A highlight for the young squad came last season when they won their first ever conference match.
Heritage defeated crosstown rival Wake Forest-Rolesville in a four-set match.
That win set off a long-awaited celebration for the Husky volleyball team.
“It was very exciting,” Green said. “Losses are to teach upon but when you win, it gives you confidence.”
With the school’s first graduating class this past year, the Huskies lost three seniors but return eight from the 2012 roster.
“This is one of my most experienced teams at Heritage,” Green said. “Most of our players play volleyball year-round, which only helps them develop their game.”
Junior Sydney Hinds, who plays libero, received Cap 8 Honorable Mention honors last season and had 359 digs.
“She has worked really hard during the off season,” Green said. “I am expecting great things from her again. She has grown as a player and she will only get better.”
Also a junior, Tori Holmberg is back after leading the Huskies defensively with 485 attacks. She was also credited with 134 kills.
“She has gotten a lot of reps in this summer, and is learning how to score on the outside,” Green said.
Green is also looking to sophomores Ellie Lupton and Hannah Midles to make a significant contribution.
“Both of them are playing on high-level club teams and they both had a great off season,” Green said.
The Huskies have the experience but they are not a tall team, which concerns Green somewhat.
“That’s our weakness,” he said. “Our middles are not as big and we will have to play fast. But we will be a good defensive team.”
As part of their summer workout program, the team attended a three-day volleyball camp at Coastal Carolina University. “We mostly scrimmaged,” he said, “which was good because it gave me a chance to see everyone play, since I hadn’t in a while.”
In addition, Green said the majority of the girls lifted weights during the off season to become stronger.
“This season we really want to be as competitive as we can be,” he said, “so we hit the weight room. We want our intensity level to be up there, especially since the Cap 8 is so competitive.”
“We have to be ready for our opponents,” Green added.
The Huskies will open their regular season Aug. 27 against the perennially strong Wakefield Wolverines. Game starts at 5:30 p.m.