Cardinal Newman survived youth and a coaching change in the midst of the season to put together a solid volleyball season in 2008. The Cardinals finished 12-9 overall, 7-3 in SCISA Region 2-3A play and reached the third round of the state tournament.
“We spent most of the season in first place before losing two region matches late,” said veteran coach Bob Watson, who returned to the bench a few weeks into the season after a few years off.
“Our best match of the year was a five-game loss to a strong Camden team where we were up 2-0 and had two match points in the third game but eventually lost in a very well played game. We played in seven five-game matches, winning only three, which will be a major point of emphasis next year – we’ll emphasize finishing strong, not only the individual matches, but also to finish the season strong.
“The good news is we had no seniors on the team, so we are looking for great things next year. We have nine varsity girls who are currently playing club volleyball on either region or travel teams, which is extremely important for future success. I plan to add another tournament and generally upgrade our schedule to help prepare the girls for the state tournament. And we are planning a trip to Orlando in August to scrimmage several teams in that area.”
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Junior outside hitter Denise Jeanmougin and sophomore setter Alex Watson had big seasons for the Cardinals. Jeanmougin was named to the all-state and all-region teams and was selected to play in the SCISA North-South all-star game. Watson was voted to the all-state team and was on South Carolina’s all-star team that played against the top played from the North Carolina Independent School ranks.
Jeanmougin led the team with 251 kills, 223 digs, 67 aces and a .427 kill percentage. Watson had 488 assists and a .923 serving percentage.
Junior outside hitter Nazley Wilson was another key contributor, though she did not rate an all-region spot. Wilson was second on the team in serving percentage (.937), second is aces (58), first in hitting percentage (.931), second in kills (110) and kill percentage (.320) and second in digs (217).
Junior middle blocker Erin Zander, sophomore middle blocker Paige Bennett, sophomoreright side hitter Meredith Mann and sophomore right side hitter Rachel Bruning are the other regulars expected to return next seasons.