BATH TWP. – Bath senior Tessa Hosford doesn’t mince words when talking about the hopes for the Bath varsity girls volleyball team’s season.
“This is our year,” she said.
Bath has 10 seniors on this year’s term, an unusual occurrence for a small school.
“Having 10 players in the same grade is not very usual,” said Bath head coach Kristen McIntyre. “If you look at most teams they may have four or five from one grade.”
And there’s a lot of camaraderie, McIntyre said.
“They’re very good friends and they all get along,” she said. “And I feel like that has helped our program this year.”
The Bees areranked seventh in Class C and have a 38-4-2 overall record, 6-0 in Central Michigan Athletic Conference.
“We’ve just been together for so much. We’re super close on and off the court.” Hosford, a captain, said. “We have such good unity and all really work together for one common goal. We know what works for us and it helps us work well together.”
Bath wasn’t always the premier program it is today. And all of the current seniors witnessed the rebuilding process during their freshman and sophomore years. But it’s this senior class’ progress that has fueled the season’s success.
“We know what to expect. You have fewer nerves because everyone’s played at the varsity level,” said senior captain Maddi Gutzki. “Coach doesn’t give spots away. The biggest thing I’ve taken from her is my work ethic. If you want to play you have to work for it.”
McIntyre says she can’t stress enough how much of a difference maker having 10 of her 13 players being seniors is. Each older player knows her role and not one girl is trying to take the spotlight.
“When I look at other programs I see they have one or two players that are their go-to girls to get a kill,” McIntyre said. “But I don’t feel like my team is that way. You look at my team and see they’re strong because they all bring different things to the team.”
Potterville coach Don Peterson said the Bees have everything a coach could want in a team.
“The biggest thing is they are fundamentally sound all the way around. It’s tough to finish the play against them,” he said. “There’s not an area they have where you can say ‘oh I can go there and take advantage of it.’
“With seniors, you get to the point where they know the system you run. You’re past the fundamentals and can start working on strategy and the high-level things you want to work on a team with.”
The Bees have already won four invitationals and placed second in two but know with this senior-laden team a lot more is possible.
“Because we have so many seniors, everyone is a leader on the court. On top of that we pretty much have six seniors on the court at all time,” said Gutzki, the team’s digs leader at 3.4 per set. “We know this is our strong year. We feel with the amount of seniors we have the ability to go far.”