Buckeye’s volleyball team has been fortunate to have great senior leadership for the past several years.
That will again be the case this season with Alexa Weiland.
The 5-foot-5 setter has played a vital role on all three of the Bucks’ Patriot Athletic Conference championship squads as a defensive specialist and running the offense.
This fall, though, she will be called upon to set an example for all the younger players on the squad — and teach them how to be winners.
“Alexa is our quarterback, and we’ll live and die with her,” Buckeye coach Craig Peterson said. “Even though she’s dealing with a new system and me as a new coach, she’s doing very well. I like our chances with her leading us.”
Peterson has good reason to be confident given Weiland’s development into one of the finest setters in Northeast Ohio. Few players can match her body control at the net, which allows her to turn shaky passes into certain kills.
The athletic dynamo earned honorable mention all-district, All-PAC and All-Gazette honors in her first full season at the position in 2010.
Weiland also led Medina County in assists (795) and assists per game (10.46) while ranking second in serves (327) and fifth in aces (36).
“Alexa has always been a consistent player, and she has a huge leadership role on the court that she fills perfectly,” said Samantha Mueller, the 2010 Gazette MVP with the Bucks.
“If you give her direction, she listens and executes, which is a vital quality in an athlete. I have no doubt in my mind that she will shine this season.”
Weiland split her freshman season between setter and defensive specialist, then moved full-time to the latter position as a sophomore for the good of the team.
The strategy worked as Buckeye not only captured its second straight PAC crown, but also won the Keystone Division II District to qualify for regionals for the first time.
“I learned so much from being around great players like Samantha Mueller and Kara Joyce, who were also amazing leaders,” Weiland said. “The girls on our (PAC title) teams will always be close as a group because we made so many wonderful memories together.”
In addition to making more memories this year, Weiland can make Medina County history.
No local player has won four league volleyball championships, but she can become the first, along with teammate Erin Leneghan and Brunswick libero Julianne Laughlin.
It won’t be an easy task, but that only makes the bubbly 17-year-old want it more.
“It would be incredible for Buckeye volleyball to be able to win another league title,” said Weiland, who recorded a 2010 county season-high 60 assists against Brookside. “I know Brookside pretty much has their whole team back and Keystone is always in the hunt, but we’ve got some pretty special players, too.
“(Fellow seniors) Erin Leneghan, Krystin Estes and Gabrielle Beck all know what it’s like to be in big matches, and to win them. Our newer girls are coming along quickly, as well, so you definitely can’t count us out.”
By now, no one in the PAC would dare make that mistake about the Bucks or Weiland, who has won 63 matches during her three-year career.
“I could tell right away that Alexa is definitely this team’s leader, both on and off the court,” said Peterson, who took over from Brianne Indorf in July.
“She’s a great leader in practice, and you can see how much respect the other girls have for her. I feel very good knowing she’s around.”
Contact Brian Dulik at email@example.com.