There's somebody new at Cherry Creek High School.
His name is Steve Huntingdale and he is the new head girls volleyball coach, replacing Sally Moos, who was head coach of the Bruins for 38 years.
Moos won five state titles and 13 league titles during her Creek coaching stint, but Huntingdale, a former Highlands Ranch assistant, is having a hard time introducing himself to the Bruins' program because of COVID-19 restrictions.
He's had two outdoor workouts with varsity players and a few meetings. Last season's Creek assistant coaches return, which has been a big assistance to Huntingdale in his bid to introduce himself and his volleyball philosophies to the players.
“I'd say with normal circumstances there would be excitement but with the COVID whether we will have a season is unknown,” said Huntingdale. “I really think it's got to do down to the wire for the season to see if there are a lot of spikes. Three weeks ago things looked promising. But, I'm excited. I feel like we have a lot of talent.”
Two Creek players, senior Courtney Wisneski and junior Carter Booth, participated in both the early outdoor workouts.
“It's been hard to get to know him but the workouts did really helped us,” said Wisneski. “It's definitely been different not being able to do the camps during the summer camp and do the team bonding. It was nice to see the coaching style. We saw his way of teaching. He definitely has the energy to bring and I'm excited about volleyball.”
Booth also noted that the early two practices were different from the way Creek used to practice.
“It's a little bit different,” she said. “The way he approaches offensive play is much different. He is much more about focusing on shots instead of hitting straight down with a lot of power. And even in the short practices we had, he was focused a lot more on defense and passing that we have in the past.
“Yeah, I've liked it. There's not much to go off of but I feel good about this season if we have one.”
The offseason has also been different for Wisneski and Booth because of the disorder created by the pandemic.
“Yeah, it is probably a little bit frustrating, just because it feels like we've sort of wasted a whole year of progress,” said Wisneski. “If you don't play a sport for a while you sort of lose the progress you've built up. But I understand the situation and I understand it's not safe for us to be working out together”.
Booth has her sights set on an upcoming season.
“I know it's not going to be as easy, since we lost a lot of seniors last year, but I'm looking forward to the challenge,” she said. “It will definitely feel a little bit uncomfortable in the first few weeks because of the risk if we do have a season, but I will have to get over that to perform my best. At the end of the day, I want to play. I'm looking forward to it.”
Creek graduated seven seniors off last season's 18-9 team but Booth and Wisneski head the players coming back for hopefully another season.
“The season is going to be different,” said Wisneski. “We're going to have to adjust a lot. We have to potential to go far in state we just need to connect.”
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