For weeks now, Carol DeNure and Susan Shifflett have shared the same frustrating situations.
The head coaches of two of the perennial girls high-school volleyball powers are wanting to lead their teams, but can’t.
The COVID-19 pandemic has postponed the usual fall volleyball campaign until perhaps early spring.
So instead, DeNure (head coach at the Flint Hill School) and Shifflett (Langley) stay connected to the sport by following some of their college players in women’s action. Each has sent countless players to college teams over the years, with a number from each school playing this fall or on collegiate squads of various levels.
“It’s frustrating and we want to be playing, but at least we can follow them for a while,” DeNure said of her many college players.
One of Flint Hill’s top college players right now is freshman libero Sydney Reed at the University of North Carolina. She is receiving playing time as a back-row defensive specialist. Through five matches this fall, Reed has three service aces and two assists.
Reed helped Flint Hill win a Division I private-school state championship last fall, when she was chosen the state’s Player of the Year.
DeNure was able to watch Reed play in a match in person earlier this season.
“She has been playing well and learning the college game,” DeNure said.
Senior outside hitter and Flint Hill graduate Jordyn Park is playing for the Division III Dickinson College team. Park has 116 career kills.
Flint Hill grads Siron Hardy and Carly Middleton are on the rosters and playing for George Mason and Palm Beach Atlantic universities.
Others are Krissy O’Malley (Liberty University), Lika Nkenchor (University of Hartford), Denver Pugh (California State University Bakersfield) and Ericka Link (Elon University).
Playing in college from Langley are junior setter Elena Shklyar at Michigan State University, junior middle hitter Allison Franke at Franklin and Marshall University and her freshman sister and middle blocker Olivia Franke at Wake Forest University.
Olivia Franke had 16 kills, eight blocks and three aces through four matches this fall.
The seasons are yet to start at Michigan State and Franklin and Marshall.
In her first two college seasons, Shklyar had 1,261 assists, 46 aces and 36 kills. In 2019, Allison Franke had 253 kills, 14 blocks and was an all-Centennial Conference first-team selection.
Like DeNure, Shifflett enjoys following her former players, but would rather be in the midst of Langley’s own season.
Langley is holding limited conditioning workouts, but the team can’t yet use a ball in practices.
Shifflett also keeps tabs on her daughter, Megan Shifflett Bachmann, who is an assistant coach at Towson University.
One other former Langley player now coaching in college is assistant Elysse Richardson at Air Force.
Former Flint Hill player Terran Bargeron is the head coach of the local Oakton High School girls team. She helped Flint Hill win a 2011 state championship.