Norwalk volleyball: Strong motivators lead to a great season

The Norwalk High School varsity volleyball team finishes its fall season with pride


Jina Fraser

The Norwalk varsity volleyball team celebrates on Oct. 4. The team said they have lots to be proud of this season.

Taylor Stanley, Staff Writer

The Norwalk High School volleyball team had many goals going into the season this year according to new coach John Fulton.

He said one of the biggest goals was to be a top 10 team, and they delivered.

“Our girls and team have big goals, so we know that we need to work every day practicing in order to reach those goals,” he said. “We want to be a top 10 team in the state every year, so we need to play hard every day.”

Fulton said the team’s objectives brought value to each match.

“The motivation was always to play well in the playoffs and give ourselves a shot to get to the state tournament,” he said. “We knew that we would need to put ourselves in a good position throughout the season to host a playoff game, so each tournament and each game was important for us.”

However, the team still knew how to balance work and fun.

“We knew that we would play better when we were just going out and having fun, so that was a good feeling to have,” Fulton said. “Just having the opportunity to play volleyball with their friends was a good feeling.”

The hard work and dedication of the team is what Fulton believes brought their successes.

“The two biggest accomplishments for the team this year were winning the regular season conference championship with a 6-1 record, and hosting two playoff games here in Norwalk,” he said. “There were a lot of games where we knew going in that we ‘needed’ to win, and the entire team stepped up and performed when the pressure was on. They never let the pressure exceed that ‘having fun’ feeling and I was really proud of how well they played in those meaningful games.”

Elizabeth Iverson, Norwalk freshman varsity player, was also proud of the team’s efforts.

“We had a few injuries this season that challenged us to dig deep and really compete,” she said. “One of our middle blockers, Ava Johnson, who greatly contributes to our blocking and attacking, went down with an ankle injury, and that caused us to pull people up. The girls that were not used to the position did a great job adjusting and bringing everything they had. I think that shows how our team had to adapt and overcome to continue to compete.”

Iverson said Fulton was a big part of keeping the team motivated throughout the season.

“We all sat down at the beginning of August and set goals for ourselves and the team as a whole,” she said. “Coach Fulton held on to those and reminded us of them throughout the season.”

According to Iverson, the senior-leadership within the volleyball program encourages players within every class.

“I feel like the team has grown to have a positive and competitive atmosphere. We are each pushing each other to be better and clearly communicating with each other,” she said. “I think the culture shift started with last year’s senior leadership and has continued to spread throughout the Norwalk Volleyball program. I would like to thank the seniors, Kelsey Dammeier and Sami Aagard, for their commitment to the Norwalk Volleyball program for four years.”

After competing in the sport for four consecutive years, Sami Aagard, Norwalk senior, turned her sentiments into motivation.

“This being my last year playing volleyball for Norwalk motivated me to work really hard this season,” she said. “Being a senior has motivated me to step up and make the season memorable because I won’t be coming back.”

Aagard said her last year was filled with accomplishments for the team.

“Becoming conference champs is an accomplishment that I will forever be proud of, and I know the rest of the team is proud of that too,” she said. “One of my most memorable moments this season was when we beat Clear Creek Amana, who was number 7 in the state when we were number 15.”

Aagard said although she loves the sport, her teammates are what make Norwalk volleyball memorable.
“Volleyball has always been my favorite sport and I am sad to leave it this year,” she said. “I have a really great team that has helped me and always gets me excited to play.”

With the 2022 fall season coming to a close, Fulton said this team brings him a sense of pride.
“I am proud of how well our girls played in big moments,” he said. “Whether they won or lost, they gave it their best.”