Athlete of the Week for Sept. 19: Juliana Schlunz

Eastern View’s varsity volleyball season started strong and then there were three-straight losses.

A strong start stalled by a few early hurdles.

The team’s head coach Molly McGrath referred to it as a rut, but with a recent win over Chancellor the Cyclones appear to be back on the right track.

One of the team’s top players this season and in recent years is senior Juliana Schlunz, a 17 year-old with a passion for this growing sport and a desire to teach it to younger players.

She was voted as the Cyclones Most Valuable Player last year and she earned a second team all district honorable mention as a junior.

“We started strong this year, I think we going to be as good as we were last year,” said Schlunz. “My favorite moment in any volleyball game is winning the last point. It is always a thrill.”
Coach McGrath puts a lot of faith in one of her top players.

“Juliana has always been a strong player mentally and physically.  She is one of our few that play all year round, so that gives her the edge on most players when it comes to experience and knowledge of the game,” said McGrath.

Schlunz expressed that she and her team are committed to making the regional playoff and succeeding in the Evergreen District.

“It will be hard, but I know we can do it,” she added.

Team work is an essential element in volleyball. In the sport, teammates need to have an innate feeling for the athletic tendencies of their fellow players.

When the ball starts flying over the net Schlunz knows that she can depend on her teammates, most notably Kate Bridges, Nicole Murphy and Brooke Downs, according to the senior.

“This is my fifth year of playing volleyball. I’ve loved playing since 8th grade,” said Schlunz.

Typically women volleyball players are a very tall so Schlunz, at 5’5” simply has to outwork her loftier opponents.

“I’ve never really let my height limit my play,” said Schlunz.

McGrath credits Schlunz for her gutsy approach to the game.

“Juliana has the ability to adjust quickly to anything whether it be different teams and the defense she is up against or even a set that is off the net,” voiced McGrath.
 
Outside of the volleyball court Schlunz enjoys working with kids and hopes to be a teacher in the near future. She also likes to run to stay fit.

“After graduation I want to study Elementary Education and one day pursue a teaching career,” she added. “As a volleyball player I like to help younger kids learn the game and gain the skills to play too.”

Schlunz has been accepted into Longwood and she has also applied to James Madison University.

She cites a personal hero who is close to her heart.

“My dad is my hero. He’s helped me fulfill my dreams of playing volleyball and succeeding in life.”

McGrath remains optimistic.

“This year we are in a new conference with much tougher teams.  For the most part, we are the same returning team as last year, with one new addition.  We have the experience and once we remember how to work together as a unit, I believe we have the potential to be extremely competitive within our conference.”

The Cyclones are 4-4 heading into an important match this week against cross-town rival Culpeper on Thursday.