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Mooseheart Volleyball Team Drops Home Opener to Paw Paw

A youthful Mooseheart volleyball squad dropped its home-opener on Thursday when it fell 25-10, 25-9 to Paw Paw.


The visiting Bulldogs took early advantages in both games, leading 10-3 in the first game and jumping to an 8-2 lead in the second game. Both times, the Ramblers (0-2) tried to rally, but the deficits were too large.


“Their attitudes were great through the match,” Mooseheart volleyball coach Kristin Shuman said. “Even at the end, they were scrambling around, hitting the floor and fighting. That’s all I can ask of them.”


After recent seasons with a mostly-stable roster, graduation hit Mooseheart and the majority of the lineup is new to varsity volleyball. Of the Ramblers’ 10 varsity team members, Mai Soko is a freshman while Suriah Randolph, Doyin Akeju, Hertasia Cunningham and Rayasia Cunningham are all sophomores.


“This is pretty much a restart for us this year,” Shuman said. “We graduated four of our starting lineup from last year and another starter also left campus. It’s really brand new to them. Getting them to trust each other on the court and to learn new positions from what they’re used to has been a transition.”


The Ramblers do have upperclassmen on the roster, including seniors Jordan Plummer, Omoyi Omana and Kumba Mahoney, who combine with junior Britney Tovar to give the squad some experience.


Throughout the program, Shuman has players who lack experience in the sport, which means she is teaching the game while they are competing against more-experienced squads.


“It happens every year that we open practice and there are girls on the team who have never seen a volleyball,” Shuman said. “Some of the other schools can come in and pick up on where they left off last year. We have to start with the basics, which is OK. It just takes us a little longer to get acquainted with things.”


In her ninth year as Mooseheart volleyball coach, Shuman said she looks at her roster and sees great potential, which means the Ramblers figure to be playing their best volleyball as the regular season ends and the IHSA postseason begins.


“I enjoy working with the girls, which is why I come back every year,” Shuman said. “We struggle in the regular season, but we get better through the season. This is a fun group and we’ve come a long way since the first couple of years.”

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