After a 12-13 finish to the 2019-2020 season, the HHS girls volleyball team looks to rebuild and develop young players for the current and future seasons.
Led by captains Skya Favor, senior, and Tori Turgeon, senior, the HHS volleyball team is off to a slow 0-5 start, losing to conference teams including Wayzata, Minnetonka, Buffalo, Eden Prairie, and STMA. With Favor being the only returning starter and only one of two seniors, the girls are a young team to say the least. With a lack of overall experience, the captains are ensuring there are still high expectations of every athlete on the roster.
“We lost pretty much everyone. It’s a really young team so it’s going to be hard because most of us haven’t played together,” Turgeon said. “We really have high expectations. We work hard from the moment we step on the floor.”
Turgeon started her volleyball career in 7th grade playing on the junior high team at Hopkins West Junior High. She then played on the 9b team the next year. As a freshman and sophomore she was pulled up to junior varsity and played occasional varsity games in her junior year.
“We’re trying to have the “I can mindset” with everything. We’re trying not to get down quick and stay energized and optimistic in practices and games,” said Turgeon
As captains, Favor and Turgeon are tasked with leading the younger girls and giving them positive reinforcement throughout the season.
Coach Bailey Zimprich is in her first year of being the girls varsity head coach. Zimprich has plenty of experience in volleyball, stemming back to kindergarten when she was the watergirl for her high school’s team, which happened to be coached by her mother.
After her senior year, Zimprich graduated and played volleyball at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. After her collegiate career, she got the 9A position coach at Hopkins in 2016. Eventually, she worked her way up, and is now in her first year as head coach.
“It’s fun to coach a whole new group and watch that team chemistry build over time. It’s been fun and challenging to get them all to match a similar playing level,” Zimprich said.
Though the Royals have faced early struggles, Zimprich believes growth is the key to a successful future of HHS volleyball.
“I don’t think the success is going to get measured by our wins and losses this year. We’re really young and we haven’t had many varsity returners,” said Zimprich. “Our success is going to be measured on how much we grow and get better throughout the season.”
Leiauna Hayman, sophomore, is expected to have a significant role in the potential success of this year’s team.
Hayman started playing in 7th grade at Hopkins West Junior High and has stuck with it for her first varsity season.
“For the off season I played on a club team and I went to summer training camps and played a lot of beach volleyball,” Hayman said. “This season I am definitely a lot stronger because I’ve done a lot of weight and endurance training so I’m definitely more athletic and confident coming back this season.”
Hayman continues to look forward to the future, as the young team continues to grow with more experience.
“We’re focusing on getting better. The leadership from our seniors is something that is definitely helpful. We are a really young team and we’re all going to move up together which is really cool,” said Hayman.