CORTLAND - After the Sept. 14 three-game victory over Lakeview, Hubbard varsity volleyball coach Chuck Montgomery ponders the state of Eagles' program.
Montgomery has been the coach since 1991, molding a program that has been the model of area teams.
The Eagles won the former Trumbull Athletic Conference-8 title numerous times and been a staple atop the All-American Conference with Salem, ranked No. 3 in last week's latest Division II Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association poll. Hubbard was ranked No. 17, but should move up with last week's victory over No. 15 Lakeview.
In that first year, Hubbard finished 11-11. The next year, the Eagles were 16-6. Since then, they've won at least 20 games each season.
With that kind of tradition, there's not much motivation Montgomery has to do on his part. He has a great support system.
"The teams come in knowing they have tradition ahead of them already, doing things," he said. "Our parents, booster club, community and school is all behind you and that really, really helps. Our kids love playing volleyball. They play year round. They do Junior Olympics, they do camps. They do whatever it takes to be a top-notch team. It shows on the floor. They represent Hubbard very well. I know we're very proud to be playing for Hubbard. I think they know they have a top-level program, too."
Senior Jackie Carlisle, who has made a verbal committment to play collegiately at Youngstown State University, said Montgomery shaped Hubbard's program into what it is today.
"We didn't have a really good program before coach Mont came here," she said. "They wanted him to make it like his old team. He basically made it much better.
"Coach Mont, he's an awesome coach."
Like any other solid program, it starts with the younger grades.
"Our freshman and sophomores playing on our JV team, they see what it's like to play here," Montgomery said. "When, our seventh and eighth grade teams are home playing, they come to our games and see what they have to live up to. It's the way you build a program from the bottom up. Now, every year, we sort of reload a little bit. When you get great players like Jackie, Lexi (Starheim), Courtney (Angelo) and Marcy (Angelo) - seniors that dominate a program for four years - it shows."
It shows why it's good to be part of the Hubbard volleyball team.
"Hubbard volleyball is known to be good year after year after year," Carlisle said. "Everybody want to come out and be part of the team."
Hubbard has a crucial regular-season matchup Oct. 7 as the Eagles host Salem. Then, Hubbard hosts its annual tournament on Sept. 26 - hosting some of Ohio's best teams.
"It's not over yet," Montgomery said. "It's just starting. Our kids are ready for this year."
Her 24 kills aren't a career high, but they made an impact on Monday's game. Lakeview (6-1, 3-1 AAC White) was ranked No. 14 in the first Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association state poll in Division II, while Hubbard (5-0, 4-0) was at No. 17.
Carlisle, who verbally committed to Youngstown State University, added 10 digs to her resume on Sept. 14.
Marcy Angelo added 14 service points and 38 assists, while Dawn Lingenfelter had 22 digs. Hubbard amassed a 5-0 lead in the first game and, up 12-7, went on a 7-0 run to put away Game 1. The Eagles took a 6-1 lead in Game 2.
However, Lakeview's Elaine Kelley had a kill cut to trim the Hubbard lead to 13-10, but the Bulldogs could get no closer. Kelley led Lakeview with eight kills.
Lakeview rallied in Game 3. With the game was tied at 6, Hubbard was called for carrying the ball. That started a 6-0 Bulldog run.
Hubbard tied the game at 20 and Carlisle had three of her kills the rest of the way.