The Wesley Chapel High (WCH) volleyball program — barely older than its players — may be coming of age.
Although its past is littered with losing records — prior to last season, the team had won as many as eight games just once (in 2013) — the Wildcats (11-4) are streaking heading into Tuesday’s showdown against Sunlake (11-1), winning six straight games.
WCH team is coming off a 14-11 season.
“The year before that we were 3-17, so, yeah, it was a complete turnaround… and we’re looking to be (Class 4A, District 6) champs this year,” said Brittany Collison, who is in her fourth season as the team’s head coach. “That’s the endgame.”
Turnarounds happen a lot quicker when you add a couple of high-jumping, spike-pounding, six-foot volleyball players like sisters Jordan and Chloe Danielson. The duo, who also play for Collison’s Club Steel team in the offseason, played together up on the net last season.
Chloe leads the team in kills with 121; Jordan is right behind her with 107, and leads the team with 197 assists.
In her first high school season, Chloe, now a sophomore, led the team in kills (216) and blocks (95), while Jordan, a senior, was second in kills with 204 and led the team with 328 assists.
“They play all year for me at Club Steel, so I know what I’m getting with them,” said Collison, a former collegiate libero at Eastern Florida State College. “There’s high-level playing from both of them. They just bring the energy and passion to this team.”
But, it wasn’t always this much fun, especially for Jordan.
“My freshman year was super rough,” she said. “We weren’t good at all and neither was I. I wasn’t even close to how good I am now or how good we are now. … I’ve only been playing club for 3-4 years, but there I’m not the captain. Here, I’m the captain, so I’m like, ‘Let’s get this done.’”
It is not, however, only a two-person show at WCH, which boasts plenty of experience. Senior middle blocker Amiya Oliver is a force at the net with 77 kills and 38 blocks, sophomore setter Vanessa Campos is emerging as a standout with 131 assists and senior libero Carina Santiago-Sanchez led the team in digs last year with 247.
But, once Chloe was added to the roster, the Wildcats’ success — especially at the net — could not contained.
“We were good and were winning, so that helps,” Chloe said. “Jordan was already here, so that made it easier and things were great from the start. She has a lot of energy up on the net, which gets me really hyped at the net, too. She’s a really huge role model for me because I’ve watched her even before I started playing, so when I see her and what she can do, it makes me want to improve myself and my game, too.”
The two sisters are able to feed off each other, and their versatility is an added bonus. They can both play most any position, and in fact, Jordan led the team in assists and was second in digs, and Chloe was first with serving aces last year.
“Since we’re used to each other’s energy, we just bounce off each other all the time,” Jordan says. “When she does something good, it pushes me to do something good, and I push her back. So, it’s nice to have the same energy as someone playing next to you.”