By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
For a long time, the Mayfield Senior School volleyball team’s modus operandi has been attack, attack and attack some more, but those attacking volleyball players have graduated to NCAA Division I programs. Suddenly, the Cubs appear to be not quite the attacking team they have been in years past. That’s no concern, though, for coach Megan Rush.
“I think our defense will be phenomenal,” the second-year coach said. “We have some big guns, but we seem to have all the angles covered in the backcourt.”
It took a long time last year for Mayfield to develop into what’s been typical for it in recent years – a team that makes a deep journey into the CIF-Southern Section playoffs. With so many new players and a new coach last year, it took the Cubs until the second half of the regular season to meld into a playoff contender. The Cubs finished second in the Prep League to Pasadena Poly, then lost to the Panthers in the CIF-SS semifinals.
Not surprisingly, the transformation began and ended with middle blocker Hannah Schraer, who’s playing at USC this season. Schraer had to help work several new players into the Cubs’ rotation.
“You can’t replace a Hannah Schraer and you can’t try,” Rush said.
Those younger players, though, now have a year’s experience.
“The girls have really become a dynamic team,” Rush said. “We have come together a lot faster. I’m excited.”
Seniors Brittany Angiuli and Alex Arnett have really come along, and sophomore Natalie Johnson has given the Cubs backcourt striking power.
“Brittany has really stepped up to another level and definitely runs the backcourt,” Rush said. “Natalie just thinks defense. She’s just a natural athlete.”
Both could play libero and give the Cubs flexibility in their rotation.
Rush also has the luxury of two returning setters, senior Ashley Schamml and junior Madeline Watkins. Plus, there’s newcomer Bella Garcia, who’s also a junior. The Cubs can confidently run a 6-2 offense.
Mayfield had a scrimmage against Holy Family on Tuesday. The Cubs open their season Monday against Gahr in the Gahr tournament, then play Poly on Sept. 13 in the league opener for both schools.