Cooperstown has gotten used to volleyball success under Rich Jantzi, and it looks like CCS will prove themselves on the court again this year.
“We have the athletic ability, definitely, and we’re fast,” said Jantzi, who has coached CCS for 15 years. “We’re a strong hitting team, no doubt about it.
“We’re more experienced than last year, but we’re still a young team.”
Jantzi stresses the team effort, but is quick to point out Caroline Leonard, a sophomore, as someone to watch. “She’s my best player,” he says matter of factly. “She’s the most athletic, hits the ball hardest, and is the most intense.”
Watching Leonard jump serve, her grace, prowess and strength are apparent.
At an early Saturday morning practice, the Hawkeyes’ competitive attitude and hard work ethic demonstrated by both Coach Jantzi and his girls is immediately evident.
Jantzi’s hands on, correcting, demonstrating and encouraging. He takes a minute to talk about his team, but never stops instructing from the sidelines.
“We’re going to have a tough season this year. We changed divisions because of the merger between Mohawk and Illion schools, so we don’t really have experience playing some of these teams,” he said.
The team’s weakness this year: “They don’t like it when I say it, but its’ the ‘serve receive.’ We need to get better at that, and we lack a team leader right now.
“The good news is, we do have a very strong serving team this year,” he said.
Over the years, the team has become a volleyball program under Jantzi, working out hard in the off-season as well as during the varsity schedule. “(We’re) very dedicated to the program and work exceptionally well together,” he said.
Overall, Jantzi said he considers the team, “a good group, a lot of continuity here. They enjoy each other.” Most of the team attends Jantzi’s summer camps at the Clark, and they often get together for Tuesday night games in the off-season. In addition, they attended a camp at Buffalo State during the summer.