MORGAN TWP. | When Alison Goetz and Courtney Maxwell stepped onto the Morgan Twp. campus this year as incoming freshmen, the volleyball players couldn't have possibly imagined what was in store for them.
Goetz and Maxwell couldn't foresee both making the varsity team in their first year of high school. They surely didn't think they'd be two of the four players who have appeared in every match for the Cherokees this season. Finally, they certainly didn't think they'd be sitting on a 2-18 record while their classmates have experienced plenty of success on the freshmen team.
Displaying a maturity beyond their years, both of the newcomers are just fine with the learning curve they are getting this season.
"Of course we all get frustrated, but we are recognizing our weaknesses right now," Maxwell said. "You have to learn how to lose at some point and get better from that."
Goetz and Maxwell are nearly inseparable at Morgan Twp. and it's been that way throughout middle school. Volleyball has brought the two together and it's taken them far, as far as nationals with the Indiana Dunes 14-Teal club volleyball team. That experience made the jump to varsity much easier for the pair of rising stars.
"We improved so much from playing with Dunes," Goetz said. "It's so much quicker than high school. It's almost like we're playing college volleyball. It's really helped us with our game."
The architect behind Goetz and Maxwell's ascension to varsity this season has been Morgan Twp. coach Matt Bien. When Bien took over the Cherokees three years ago, there were 14 players in the program. On Monday afternoon, there were 32 girls in the gym for a combined practice of freshmen, junior varsity and varsity. Bien has been serving as coach for the eighth grade club team and it was a year ago when he truly saw how good Goetz and Maxwell could be.
"For the chance to get to know the girls and build those relationships a year early is almost invaluable," Bien said. "They get to see how we practice and our system and I get to know them."
The future appears bright for the Cherokees and though the present has been dim, Goetz and Maxwell have been keeping a clear head. There have been some ups in the season, such as taking one game from defending state champion Lafayette Central Catholic. With the Porter County Conference tournament remaining and then sectionals, there is still time this season to end on a high note.
"I just want to win some games," Goetz said. "What we've gone through this year has helped us a lot, but I want to win some games before we're done."