HS Volleyball: Imperials dealing with low numbers

National Sports

Life in Class B volleyball can be a struggle. One of the big problems Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter dealt with this year is low participation numbers. In fact, the poor turnout has forced eighth graders to help out the varsity.

“You see a lot of slower numbers in the Class B schools,” Schwartzenberger said. “In the Class B schools, it’s just tough to get numbers and have athletes that compete in multiple sports.”

Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter volleyball coach Morgan Schwartzenberger only had 16 players to conduct practice. So coach had to make a decision.

“I’m very fortunate that we have the ability to pull up eighth graders to help out our team,” Schwartzenberger said.

The six, eighth graders do not compete on the varsity team, but they allow for normal practices.

“The competition level is a little lower if we don’t have those eighth graders,” Schwartzenberger said. “It’s hard to run drills with just 16 girls in the gym.”

With just two seniors on the team, the older players appreciate the younger players contributions.

“I am very thankful for the eighth graders,” Kaylin Weigel said. “They have brought they ability level up in the gym, immensely.”

However, now the seniors have more responsibility.

“Help the younger players out especially,” Weigel said. “Since our team is so young and basically unexperienced you could say.”

While the low numbers are huge concern, the program is not close to shutting down and coach thinks the participation numbers will increase very soon.

“Are classes are pretty stable [at the elementary school level],” Schwartzenberger said. “Roughly 20 kids per grade level. Some good young athletes.”

The Imperials started the District 6 tournament tonight against Strasburg-Zeeland and won three sets to none.

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