North Douglas volleyball team begins defense of state championship this weekend

The North Douglas Warriors Volleyball team travels to Lowell High School this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. to take on Weston-McEwen. They then follow it up with a matchup against Lowell later on in the afternoon. It will be the start of them defending their 1A State Championship they earned a year ago, and head coach Emily Reed feels good entering this season.  

“We were the 1A State Champions from the 2021 season, so we are definitely optimistic going into this year. Many of our starters are returning. [There has also been the] addition of a couple of players who didn’t play last year that bring a lot of talent and depth to our team. Also, having five seniors - I feel like [the team] will have great leadership,” Reed said.  

The Warriors will have their hands full in the first 35 days of the season, as they are scheduled to play 15 games between now and the end of September, all while trying to rebuild from losing talent from last year’s championship run.

“We lost four seniors from last year’s squad that were very important to our program," Reed explained. "Replacing them as players and people will be tough, but we also had some girls who should have been starting last year, and there just wasn’t really a spot for them under those seniors, so meshing a new group on the court will be something that we focus on during the first month of the season.

"In the first month the program, will be keeping their eyes out for new leadership as the season progresses into league play. I definitely think that my seniors will be leaders for the program."

Reed continued, speaking then about some of the individuals on the team. "Brooklyn Williams, Asia Ward, Lailah Ward, Savannah Harkins, and Audri Ward, they have experience, and I know they will be leaders on and off the court. I can also see a few of the younger girls, like Junior Brooke McHaffie and Sophomore Brooklyn Cyr, step up and be leaders on this team,” Reed said.  

While repeating as state champions is never an easy task, the Warriors will attempt just that. They have a program that features a lot of home-grown talent over the last few seasons, many players having played together since the sixth grade. On their way to the championship last year, the Warriors took down St. Paul, who were seeking a threepeat. It was the first State Championship for the North Douglas volleyball program.

“Clearly after winning a State Championship last season, there is already excitement about this season. I think one of the biggest things that we can build off of is confidence that we can compete with teams from all over the state and at different classifications and be successful. We have a very tough schedule this season. We play the toughest 1A teams, as well as talented 2A and 3A teams. We are also attending the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, Arizona in September, where we will be playing some of the best teams from all over the country. That should help us prepare for the postseason,” Reed concluded.