Taking on a new lead role
By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer
WESLEY CHAPEL -- As a hurdler last spring, Angela Medvid finished third in the state in the 300 meters, earning county Player of the Year honors from the Times and sharing the coaches' honor as well.
This fall, she's looking for the same success in volleyball, with new obstacles to clear: a new position, a new offense and a new role as team leader.
"I think finding a setter is the hardest thing, because that's the person that runs the court," said second-year coach Julie Marks, who lost a second-team all-county setter in Paula Clausnitzer to graduation.
"Paula was so calm at it, and you kind of need that attitude as a setter, while you're everywhere at once."
Medvid was a setter in middle school and as a freshman at Land O'Lakes, but since she transferred to Wesley Chapel two years ago, she's been used primarily as a hitter.
The Wildcats ran a "5-1" or single-setter system last year, but this year they'll go back to a two-setter system that allows Medvid to continue strong play above the net as well.
"She's pretty dominating right now," said Marks, who was impressed by Medvid's commitment this summer, attending a team camp at Florida Southern, another camp at the University of Tampa and a weeklong sports performance camp in New Port Richey.
"Whoa," Medvid said at the very mention of the last camp. "I loved that camp. One day you'd be hitting, the next day passing, a whole day just on that. All week long, all day, from 8 to 5. It was a really good workout."
Just as crucial as her transition back to setter is Medvid inheriting an important position as captain. Last year's Wildcats, who earned a district title and reached the second round of the regional playoffs, had a strong core of leaders in seniors Jamie Freund, Emily Conklin and Clausnitzer.
A younger team will require more coaching from Marks this season, but she expects the same on-court guidance and direction from her most experienced player.
"Angela's really stepping up into the leadership position, so she can set the pace of what our team's going to be like," Marks said.
"They're a pretty close group of girls."
A summer of heavy training has given Medvid a greater confidence.
But she said her success as a setter rests on recognizing the best place to put the ball for each of her hitters, which she was still learning after two weeks of practice.
"Tralisa (Gant) likes it off the net, another one likes it right there, other people like it high," Medvid said. "Usually, after they go around once in practice, I have it remembered."
Last season showed the Wildcats were capable of dominating the east side of the county, but the next step is holding their own against west-side heavyweights like River Ridge, Hudson and Ridgewood, as well as a Mitchell program emerging as quickly as Wesley Chapel's.
"I'm very excited, because I think we can do a lot," said Medvid, who would like to play volleyball on the college level.
"We've got to dig deep. My goal is to beat River Ridge. I don't want to lose, but if we can, I'd like to play it close, go three games, win or lose by two points."
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