With the hopes of a 4th consecutive deep run in the State Tournament, the Madison High School Volleyball team opens their season this week with a Home Match on Friday, September 7th, at 4:00 PM versus local rival, Hanover Park, and has a quick turnaround as they host the 12 team Lady Dodger Invitational Volleyball Tournament on Saturday, September 8th, from 9:00 AM until approximately 5:00 PM at Madison High School.
The unique aspect of the “under the radar” Madison Volleyball program is that unlike most of the successful Madison athletic programs, Volleyball has no youth feeder program. Yes, that is right….most of the players who show up for their freshman year have little or, in most cases, no playing experience. Yet, the program has been built completely from the ground up by a small group of highly committed girls and the coaching staff. So, what started less than a decade ago with 9 eager, yet inexperienced girls, has blossomed into appearances in the Final Eight in 2009, State Finals in 2010, and Final Four in 2011 in the Group 1 State Volleyball Tournament.
Coach Steve Fenton, who guided Bloomfield High School to the Group 4 State Championship in 1999, has led the Dodger Volleyball program to this recent success and has done so by supplementing the NJAC Conference schedule by entering Madison into weekend tournaments against the best High School teams in New Jersey. Last season, Madison squared off against 6 of the Top 20 overall teams in New Jersey and played 9 additional opponents that were ranked in the Top 10 in their respective Group including state number 1 Immaculate Heart Academy & other traditional powers such as Hunterdon Central, North Hunterdon, West Morris, and Ridge. Just in case this was not enough, Fenton added two more matches against New York State Top 15 teams in Hendrick Hudson and Ward Melville. This challenging schedule has paid off in that the Dodgers have not lost a match to a team outside of the Star Ledger Top 20 in nearly 3 years.
The 2012 Lady Dodger Volleyball Invitational follows the same path of playing the most difficult possible schedule as they welcome 11 other teams including State Championship Favorite, North Hunterdon, along with Contenders, Morristown and DePaul Catholic, to the Madison High School Gymnasium on Saturday.
The 2012 edition of Madison Volleyball will be led by Senior Tri-Captains Kayla Fennelly, Jen Vorel, and Maddy Watson. Returning Letter-winners from the Junior Class will be Olivia Alexander, Alise Bassolino, Mackie Goodwin, Kelly Quinn, and Margy Taylor. Joining this group from last year’s Junior Varsity ranks are Senior Selena Fennimore, Junior Maddie Hines, Senior Brianna Mobley, and Sophomore Ally Shahidi. There are high expectations this season as there is plenty of experience remaining from last year’s squad who lost a heartbreaking 26-24, 27-25 match in the Group 1 Final Four to Newark’s Science Park.
So, Dodger Nation….as you will be filling the stands for Saturday’s 1:00 PM Football Opener against Dover at Madison High School, please take some time to make the short walk over to the Gymnasium to catch a little Madison Volleyball before Football, at halftime, or after the game.
Lady Dodger Tournament Schedule
Madison Volleyball Web Site
Star Ledger 2012 Volleyball Preview