CM/C volleyball team off to a fast start

It’s always fun to watch the new high school sports season to unfold, where expectations are high at the beginning of the season for pretty much every team.

This year, the Cedar Mountain/Comfrey volleyball team has emerged as a team that could be one to watch come playoff time in October. The Cougars are off to a blazing start, with a 7-1 record. Their only loss came at the Mankato West tournament last Saturday, not too bad considering West has an 8-1 record and is a Class AAA school.

The Cougars aren’t just off to a fast start. They’re pretty much dominating opponents. Outside of the Mankato West sweep (CM/C lost 2-0), they have only lost two sets so far – one set to Nicollet to open the season, and they dropped a set to St. Peter at the West Tournament.

Some teams in the section and Tomahawk Conference might be a little surprised by the fast success of the Cougars. But not coach Elizabeth Hill, who guided the Cougars to eight wins in her first season two years ago and 12 wins last year.

“I did [expect the early success], it’s this group, they’re something special,” Hill said. “You could just see the potential that they had early on, they had the ability to get there. It’s exciting that they’ve been doing this so far.”

The Cougars feature the veteran leadership of the seniors Paige Richert and Lauren Boyle along with junior setter Abby Jemmings. All three are talented athletes and all three have played extremely big roles on the team again this year.

“They have a lot of the athletic potential and the work ethic, but the main thing is that all 10 of our varsity girls are able to play together as one team,” Hill said.?”They know a lot about each other and they just compliment each other so well.”

The enrollment of Cedar Mountain/Comfrey is listed at 122 on the MSHSL.org website. Naturally, when a team has success in a small school, the students and communities involved rally around the team and Hill has watched the excitement grow.

“It’s a super-fun atmosphere to be in,” she said. “You see more people at all of our games and it gets louder and a lot more people are getting excited about it. The girls are really trying to promote it and it’s catching on.”

One of the big wins early in the season was a sweep against Wabasso, a power in the Tomahawk Conference and Section 3A.

“I think that was huge for us, especially to be able to finish it in three, it was a huge mental boost for us and just knowing that we can do this,” Hill said.?

The Cougars have 10 games left in the regular season, so a lot of volleyball has to be played before the playoffs begin. But Hill is excited for what lies ahead.

“I really do have a lot of confidence in them, everything that they’re able to do and I know the work they’re putting in,” she said. “We just have to take it one game at a time and sometimes that’s tough when you get this excited about the future. Long term, I know we’re going to do very well.”

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