With nine appearances in the state quarterfinals and three semifinal trips since 2005, the boys volleyball club program at Franklin has established a high level of expectations for itself.
Head coach Sarah Records isn’t lowering the bar at all this spring, even though just two players are back from last year’s 23-4 team.
“A lot of it is just a mentality,” Records said.
“My returners have high hopes and high expectations, and they hold their teammates accountable. We hit the ground running, and we try to move at a pretty quick pace to get those guys who don’t have that experience up to par.”
Most of the players who show up to play for the Grizzly Cubs lack volleyball experience; very few boys have played the sport in any sort of organized fashion prior to high school. There’s an understanding that there will be some bumps in the road as the newcomers learn the game, but Records has made it clear that she expects them to pick it up quickly.
“Everybody understands that you’re going to make a lot more mistakes,” senior Logan Snyder said, “but they just expect you to get better as the team does.”
The schedule should force the Grizzly Cubs to improve right away; the second match of the season is against defending state champion Carmel, and Franklin faces the other three state semifinalists (Noblesville, Cathedral and Roncalli) over a seven-day stretch in April.
It’s very much a sink-or-swim situation.
“We’re jumping right in, so these guys are going to know what to expect right off the bat,” senior Andy Bennett said. “You’ve always got to be ready.”
In time, that should become easier. Franklin has grown enough that it’s fielding a freshman team for the second straight year — something that should allow future teams to start with more of a foundation.
But for now, the Grizzly Cubs still are relying more on pure athleticism, as well as an intense competitive fire that has allowed them to regularly hang with the state’s best.
“The raw talent is there,” Records said, “and there’s something within them and a drive within them to push themselves to be able to help us out. It’s always good to see kids like that who have that intrinsic motivation; that really goes a long way.”
How long of a way will be determined in May, but when the season opens Monday with a match at Hamilton Southeastern, the Grizzly Cubs know they’ll be ready — because they have to be. There’s no lowering the bar.
“We can’t afford to take points off,” Snyder said. “We have to stay intense all the time.”
March 19;at Hamilton Southeastern;7 p.m.
March 21;at Carmel;7 p.m.
April 3;at Brownsburg;7:30 p.m.
April 4;Perry Meridian;7 p.m.
April 6;Center Grove, Avon and Ben Davis;5:30 p.m.
April 10;Columbus East and Zionsville;5:30 p.m.
April 11;North Central;7 p.m.
April 14;Quad tournament;10 a.m.
April 17;Brebeuf;7:30 p.m.
April 18;at Noblesville; 7 p.m.
April 19;at Cathedral;7 p.m.
April 21;at Wapahani tournament;10 a.m.
April 24;Roncalli;7 p.m.
April 25;Columbus North;7 p.m.
April 26;at Southport
April 30;Bishop Chatard;7 p.m.
May 2;Fishers;7 p.m.
May 3;Avon and Ben Davis;6 p.m.
May 5;Cathedral and Cardinal Ritter;8 a.m.
May 10;Franklin Regional;5 p.m.
May 12;Franklin Regional;10 a.m.