Hadley Carpenter (left).Serving up volleyball lessons from experience posted on 10/01/2022
Hadley Carpenter, head coach of the Welches Schools girls’
volleyball team, can relate to the student athletes who can’t get a serve over
the net. She was there once, in the same situation and even in the same gym, as
Carpenter began her journey in volleyball as a Welches student.
“I stayed after practice every day so mad at myself because
I couldn't get the underhand (serve) from halfway on the court,” Carpenter
said. “It’s fun to see the progression that they make and it’s interesting for
me to think back that I was the same way. I had never played before, just like
Carpenter, who grew up on the Mountain and attended the
Welches Schools from 2011-13, went on to play at Sandy High School, while also
playing club level volleyball. She then went to Mt. Hood Community College to
get an associate’s degree, and now works as an educational assistant at Welches
She started coaching during the coronavirus pandemic, which
offered some challenges such as organizing carpools, no parents or fans inside
during games (games could be viewed online), only traveling close by and not
shaking hands with opponents. That led to a surprising development this year,
as the team can finally travel together by bus to their away games.
“I couldn’t figure out why the girls were so excited about
the buses on the first day when we were talking; they had to carpool the last
two years,” Carpenter said. “It’s nice to just be able to get on a bus and go.”
“It’s exciting that the parents get to come and we get to
interact with them,” she added.
This season also brings a familiar face to the sidelines,
with Becky Fortune serving as her assistant coach. That’s a turnabout for
Carpenter, as Fortune was her coach during her years on the team.
“I’m really enjoying it,” Fortune said. “It’s just so cool
to know that somebody I coached liked it enough to come back.”
Both coaches noted that they focus on the basics of the
game, while seeing the team as a great way for students on the Mountain to make
some friends and have an activity to do after school. But their efforts are
also resulting in continued enjoyment of the sport, with four Welches Schools
graduates playing on the Sandy High School team.
“I’m like a proud parent, I think,” she added. “I’m just so
glad she’s back and doing this. It’s a great connection with the girls. To come
full circle and now be sharing that again is pretty cool.”
The current program at Welches Schools features 16 girls,
including two sixth graders, on two teams, one varsity and one junior varsity.
The team typically plays one home game each week, with the season ending on
Wednesday, Oct. 19. The schedule of games can be found on the school’s website,
By Garth Guibord/MT