WARRENSBURG - Warrensburg High School Volleyball coach Stephanie Gordon stood at the side of the gymnasium, watching her players run dozens of laps from one baseline to another.
"Ladies, push it now, you can go faster than that," she yelled as the perspiring players forced themselves to finish the drill.
Gordon said Thursday she's on a mission to resurrect the volleyball program which has been at the bottom of the league for years now, and make it competitive.
In the mid-1990s, the Warrensburg volleyball team was for several years a top contender for the Adirondack League title, then it fell into a prolonged slump. Several months ago, the volleyball program was almost scrapped in school district budget cuts.
The 2009 team lost all its matches, but the 0-12 or so record doesn't discourage Gordon.
"They are just numbers," she said noting her 2009 team had some glory moments. "We won some awesome individual games last year, and we're working now on improving the program."
Gordon is determined to see the program thrive - and this year, she said, there's a core group of players that can spark a turnaround.
Setter Chanel Barboza, middle hitters Kirsten Morehouse and Ashlee Leary and outside hitter Candace Riddle will be keeping the play competitive, she said.
"These players have a lot of dedication and teamwork," she said.
During the past two years, the team has been performing a series of drills that have boosted their ball-handling instincts and sharpened their basic skills and form, according to assistant coach Jessica Ryan, who recently played college volleyball at Mount St. Vincent.
Ryan has been helping develop skills of not only the varsity players, but at modified and junior varsity levels, with an aim to strengthen the program.
"Last year, we got the basics out of the way, and now we've moved on to the fun stuff," she said.
Gordon said the increased skill level of her varsity players this year means bright prospects for the season.
"I have a good feeling right now about this team," she said. "I'm excited for this coming year."
"I definitely see their determination," she continued. "It seems like they really want to be on the court - they're excited about the season."
2010 Varsity Volleyball schedule
Sept. 10 H. Luzerne Home 5:00 p.m.
Sept. 15 Hartford Home 5:00 p.m.
Sept. 22 Argyle Away 5:00 p.m.
Sept. 24 Fort Edward Away 5:00 p.m.
Sept. 25 Granville Tourney Away TBA
Sept. 29 Lake George Home 5:00 p.m.
Sept. 30 Corinth Home 5:00 p.m.
Oct. 6 Hadley/Luzerne Away 5:00 p.m.
Oct. 8 Hartford Away 5:00 p.m.
Oct. 15 Argyle Home 5:00 p.m.
Oct. 20 Fort Edward Home 5:00 p.m.
Oct. 22 Lake George Away 5:00 p.m.
Oct. 26 Corinth Away 5:00 p.m.