Cardinals seek to rebuild program into contenders

J. Patrick Eaken

In 2018, Cardinal Stritch volleyball shared the Toledo Area Athletic Conference title with Toledo Christian, and with six varsity returners, the Cardinals would like to get back to the top.
Last year, Stritch was 13-10 overall and 4-4 in the league, and through her first two years as coach, Megan Peer is 25-19.
“Last year was tough,” Peer said. “We were very young and lost a key player right before the season started. I think it changed our team chemistry. I am expecting us to re-focus and be back on the top of the league this year as long as we work hard.
“The TAAC is always a sleeper league in the area. We may have small schools, but we have great athletes. This year won’t be different. Our league will always put up a fight.”
 Peer says this year’s team has some pros and cons that could make the difference.
“We are a great serving team; we work on serve and serve receive for up to an hour a practice. If we can’t do that, we can’t do anything,” Peer said. “We have a lot of new faces on varsity. Our weakness will be team chemistry, but I make sure that we talk about it every day. Communication will always be key in our success or failures.”
This year, Peer believes that behind the play of 6-foot-1 middle hitter Taylor York, the Cardinals can be a contender again.
“We are expecting her (York) to really pick-up this year,” Peer said. “She has been working extremely hard on becoming a faster blocker. Taylor York, will be a force this year her ability to read her opposing hitters has increased and she is finally feeling comfortable in her approach.
“Miranda Nino (senior defensive specialist), she is a true leader out on the floor and has become a strong force in the back row,” Peer continued.
Sydney Payeff, our sophomore setter, she has great volleyball skills all the way around. She led the TAAC last year in assists with 525 as a freshman, she gets better and smarter every day and can hang in there with the best of the best.
“Sydney is our only setter as she was last year running a 5-1. Sydney has improved tremendously over the summer and off season; she is finally finding her volleyball rhythm and looks more comfortable in what she is doing every day.”
Nino and Payeff earned All-TAAC honors last year, but the list of returning veterans who got varsity experience goes on.
“We are also expecting big things out of Kylie White, Faith Modrowski and Olivia Cronin — they have great ability to see the court,” Peer said. “Miranda Nino, and Alicia Davis will definitely be our leaders on the back of the court, they have great ability to read the ball and also have great speed. Alicia will be filling big shoes after losing our senior libero last year, but we expect to see big things from her.
“Olivia Cronin and Kylie White, they are both pin hitters that are really starting to understand the game a lot more. We will do big things when they are ‘on,’” added Peer.


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