For Wilde Lake's rookie volleyball coach Kelli Rosati, the Wildecats can do no worse than last season.
After a disastrous 0-15 campaign a year ago, Rosati spent much of this preseason instilling a new winning attitude into her players.
"The talent is here, and granted the players were young last year, but the discipline just wasn't here," Rosati said.
Rosati, who played a season of volleyball at the University of Indiana at Pennsylvania and coaches girls basketball and softball as well at Wilde Lake, quickly ended her players' lackadaisical approach to practice. No more skipping practices for no reason. No more coming late to practice.
"The discipline has to be there to win," Rosati said. "This is not an 'I' situation."
Rosati is intent on making sure her team concept comes long before individual stars.
Of the 13 players on the squad, Wilde Lake's main two setters will be junior Anika Middleton and sophomore Beth Lindblat, with junior Maria Romano as the top alternate.
The Wildecats' hitters include seniors Marie Parker, who Rosati called a "strong back-row player," and Tanya Davis. The senior duo will be joined by juniors Adelle Chenier and Heidi Olson.
"Chenier has the ability to become a real strong server and
possibly a dominant player," said Rosati, who also coaches the daughter of former Washington Bullets guard Phil Chenier in varsity basketball. "She's already told me she wants to be the first female high school player in the county to dunk a basketball."
As for developing a new attitude, Rosati has began to notice subtle changes in her players' commitment that signifies a strong desire to work hard to reach respectability.
In a preseason six-team scrimmage that included state powerhouses, Rosati said her girls walked off the floor with stronger team communication skills and a feeling they had offered a competitive challenge to all their opponents.
"Right now, we're taking little steps," Rosati said. "But my philosophy remains that if you expect a lot, you get a lot."