Intergenerational partnership: Marietta High volleyball team partners with Brookdale Marietta

Tiger netters add to fan base

Marietta High volleyball coach Ron Kidder spikes the ball during action Wednesday at the Brookdale Senior Living Center. RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times

After Wednesday’s visit to the Brookdale Senior Living Center, the Marietta High volleyball team can add several of the residents at the Browns Road home to its fan base.

“We were here once before during the summer after picking blueberries at Stacy’s Farm (on SR 7),” said 10th-year MHS head coach Ron Kidder. “And they were tickled to have us. They just loved the girls.

“Now, about three weeks later, we were invited back to help them with their new volleyball net and set up games. The girls just want to do something for the community.”

Kylee Walters, the Resident Program Director at Brookdale, elaborated.

“Earlier this summer, I was approached by a member of the Marietta High School volleyball team — Carlie Hamilton,” Walters said. “She asked if she and her teammates could bring our residents fresh picked blueberries to use for an activity. We chose a day and at 7 a.m. she and her teammates were out picking blueberries, which they later brought to our community and helped our residents make shortcakes.

Members of the Marietta High volleyball team watch Brookdale Senior Living Center residents play a game of volleyball Wednesday. RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times

“It was such a special treat for our residents. Not only working side by side with high schoolers, but also getting to listen to them share their hopes and dreams for higher education.”

On the team, Hamilton is a libero and senior tri-captain. The other caps are outside hitter Natalie Brooks and setter Morgan Connolly.

Backside hitter Tia Jarvis and defensive specialist Vanessa Wilison are the other two seniors on the roster.

Last year, Marietta finished 13-10 overall and 7-7 in the East Central Ohio League (ECOL) with just one senior — Madison Whittle, who was a District 13 honorable mention.

With just about everybody back, the Tigers could bear some watching on the VB court this upcoming season.

“We’re more experienced,” said Kidder, the 2017 District 13 Coach of the Year, “and we’re balanced. We have a lot of versatile players who can play several different positions on the floor.”

MHS also has several returning netters, who earned postseason accolades last fall.

Brooks was named the District 13 Defensive Player of the Year in Ohio Division I and also was a first-team ECOL honoree. Last season, she led the team in kills.

Junior middle hitter Hannah Kroft and Connolly were also first-team all-district performers, while Hamilton was a second-teamer.

Connolly was a second-team all-league selection, while Kroft made honorable mention.

“Hannah can really whack the ball,” Kidder said.

The rest of the Tiger roster includes Alexus Carpenter, Kaitlyn McClead, Betsy Wriston, Maddy Ware, Sydney Wright, and Maddy Muntz, the lone frosh on the varsity.

“They are a great group of young ladies to coach, and they’ve had a very successful summer,” Kidder said. “They work hard and play as a team.”

And, the MHS netters also unselfishly do their part off the volleyball court.

“The Marietta High School volleyball team made it very clear that it’s not just about athletics for them,” Walters said. “It’s about giving back and being good people. Our residents like to think that we gave them a little something, too. We were hoping to change their perception of aging. They wanted to show them that getting older doesn’t always mean getting old. We still have fun.”