Westminster-Oak Mountain adding volleyball program

The Westminster School at Oak Mountain will field the first volleyball team in school history in fall of 2014. The team played together in YMCA leagues before adjusting to the upcoming middle school and junior varsity level, with a varsity squad planned in 2016. (Contributed)

The Westminster School at Oak Mountain will field the first volleyball team in school history in fall of 2014. The team played together in YMCA leagues before adjusting to the upcoming middle school and junior varsity level, with a varsity squad planned in 2016. (Contributed)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Editor

In most cases, building a new sports program isn’t an easy task.

A lot of long hours are put into developing a team, and that’s before the squad even touches the playing field.

For new head Westminster-Oak Mountain head volleyball coach Jennifer Giadrosich, the task of putting together the first program in school history is a daunting one, but one she said she is looking forward to.

“I am honored,” she said. “It’s very exciting. It’ll be a challenge, (but) I hope the program flourishes as well as the others at Westminster.”

While some programs might simply put a team together and let it take bumps and bruises as it grows, Westminster took a different route, Giadrosich said. When interest in the sport was expressed within the school three years ago, the school chose to allow potential team members to test the waters as a team unit before taking the court.

The program “started with a group of fourth graders,” Giadrosich said. The teams played as a group through local YMCA leagues to get a feel for competition, as well as measure genuine interest in the sport.

The program has grown to boast 20 players, enough to fill a middle school and junior varsity program in the fall. Giadrosich said the plan was for the program to continue fielding the two teams until the original group of players reaches the 11th grade, at which time the program will begin varsity play at the AHSAA Class 1A level.

“My biggest goal is that we see growth,” she said. “That they get better as individuals, for them to have a great team spirit (and) for them to encourage each other. For that to be our hallmark.”

Giadrosich said the program faces an uphill battle, as the Knights have one of the smallest student bodies in the AHSAA. Despite what could be perceived as a disadvantage, she said she felt the program could succeed.

“We know we’re small,” she said. “But if you put time and diligence into (a program), you can build a winner on any level. I just want to represent Westminster well. I just love it. I want to build a program that will last forever.”