November 15, 2020 – By NJP
One of the high school volleyball teams to watch this Spring will be the Toms River South Indians. With a dozen varsity players coming back after a succesful 17-8 season, we project the Indians to be one of the best teams at the shore. Coming in as a top 40 team in the state, TRS has a mix of talented players and outstanding leaders. One of those players is starting setter and Captain Erin Maguire.
It’s always great to see a student athlete that has such a strong passion for her position and for her team. Erin was born to be setter, enjoys the weight of strategizing the offensive attack, and feels the pressure to lead her team to success. She has tremendous natural instincts on the floor as well as a soft touch on her sets. As a senior, in her last campaign, she will be focused on the team goal of being the best at the shore as well as a personal goal of reaching 1,000 assists for TRS, a feat never accomplished before at the school.
South has multiple weapons on tap for Erin to orchestrate. Senior Kelle Anwander (200 kills, 96 blocks) is at the top of her game and clearly one of the best middles on the NJ High School girls scene. Alexa McEwan (112 kills, 162 digs) will be another weapon in the TRS arsenal that will be ready to deploy as an outside hitter. Senior Melany Gallo as well as juniors Lily Cornell and Amber Gallo will round out a solid core.
The sky is the limit this year for the Indians. You get the feeling that the friendships that have been formed on this team can make them an unstoppable force this Spring. These types of sisterhoods set the tone for dynamic teamwork and an integrated unit working toward one goal. Should be fun to watch! We can’t wait to see those livestream events between TRS and Southern, Vianney, and Donovan Catholic.
Here is our interview with Ms. Maguire…
Tell us a bit about yourself, Erin?
I have attended Toms River High School South for all four years of my high school experience. I have loved every minute of these past four years and would go back to freshman year if I could. I am currently a senior so I will be graduating this school year in the spring of 2021. I live in Beachwood with my Mom, Jennifer, my Dad, Thomas and my 11 year old brother, Sean.
How long have you played volleyball and what inspired you to take up volleyball initially?
It’s actually funny how I started playing volleyball. In 6th grade, I didn’t make my school’s soccer team and decided to try out for volleyball, just so I wasn’t sitting around. Little did I know, the sport would bring me 7 years of happiness, determination and lifelong friends.
What are your metrics/details? Height, vertical, position, club team, etc. What’s your favorite position to play?
My height measures in at 5 foot 7 and I am the TRS setter. My favorite position has and always will be setter.
Tell us about your TRS teammates. Who do you expect will be this year’s standout and up and coming players?
I love each and every one of my TRS teammates. We all work so hard to be the best of the best and this past summer we have been training and helping one another become a better version of ourselves. Three players that I believe will be this season’s up and coming players are Amber Gallo, Melany Gallo and Alexa McEwan. This past summer they all worked so hard in practices and will be proving to many people that they are worth being talked about so expect to hear many positive words about all three of them whenever TRS is being talked about.
NJP considers you as one of the top players in the state. Do you plan to play volleyball at the college level, and if so, which ones are you looking at?
Although I have not been very open about it, I do plan to play volleyball at college level. I love this sport with all I have and do not want to stop once my senior season is over. My dream school, since I was a little girl, has always been Seton Hall University located in South Orange, New Jersey. I’ve been to many of their volleyball games and basketball games. I love the spirit and morale that Seton Hall provides and that’s where I wish to earn my degree and play volleyball for the Pirates.
South is projected to have an outstanding team this Spring with yourself, Kelle Andwander, Amber Gallo, Melany Gallo, and Alexa McEwan. What is your expectation for this year’s squad?
My expectations are always high before each season but this season’s team is different. This is the best team I’ve played on at South and I am extremely excited to be a part of this team. My past teams at South have always had their ups and downs but this upcoming team is tight like glue. We all treat each other like family and we are all support systems for every teammate. I love each and every one of them and wouldn’t want to battle this season with anyone else.
You had amazing numbers last year as a junior, stepping up into the full-time setter role and amassing almost 500 assists for the season. What’s the best thing about being a setter?
The best thing about being a setter could easily be the easiest question I’ve ever been asked. The best thing is setting up my hitters for their personal accomplishments and leading my team through each game. Being able to set my hitters and seeing their face after getting their monster hit, that is one of the best feelings you can feel. Knowing that that hit never would have happened without your set, no feeling can top that. And leading my team, that’s just a bonus that I love. Having girls look up to you, feels amazing.
Can you tell us about your best memories from your junior year season?
I have many great memories from my junior year season but two memories stick out to me the most. One of them was setting my career high of 31 assists in one game against Toms River East back in September 2019. We won that game and I never could have accomplished that career high without any of my teammates. My second memory is being the only junior Captain. I appreciated my coaches so much for believing in me to give me that role. I loved every minute of it and cannot wait to lead my team for the second season.
What are your personal goals for the 2021 spring season?
Although with the challenges of Covid 19 and with the possibility of a shortened season, my personal goal for the 2021 season is to reach 1000 assists. No other girl has hit 1000 at Toms River South and I want to be the first. With that idea in the back of my head, it will help me make the smartest decisions I can during each game so I can reach my goal.
Which player last season was the toughest competitor that you faced and why?
I really cannot just pick one player but instead I can pick a whole team. Southern Regional has always been our toughest competitor. We have always had a difficult time playing them especially when we faced them in the Shore Conference Semi-Finals last year. All of their players are very well rounded and they just know how to execute the game. This upcoming season though, they should be feeling nervous to play us. My team is ready to face them once again and everyone should be expecting a different outcome. This year is our year!
Who is your support group?
Family has always been an important part of my life. They all truly are my support group. My mom and dad have always believed in me and they always keep it real with me. They are my biggest critics but that’s what pushes me to be the best I can be. My Mema, who is my mom’s mom, has never let me get down on myself. She always keeps me in check and makes sure I never lose confidence. She has been to almost every single game of mine since 6th grade and I’m sure this season won’t be any different.
Another supporter I will always have in my life is my Poppop. Although my family and I lost him in February of 2019, I know he is watching over me and I hope I am making him proud. Before he passed, every time I saw him, he would always bring up volleyball and ask how me and my team were doing. He truly cared and came to every game he could. Last season I played for him and this season I will do the same.
Have you won any awards such as All County or All State or others?
Although I have not been recognized for an All County or All State, I have been awarded within my own school. I received the Freshman MVP during my Freshman year and then in my Junior year I earned the Offensive MVP award. These awards mean just as much to me as an All County or All State award would and I could not be anymore grateful to have received them.
What is your favorite inspirational video or music that you like to watch or listen to before games?
Before games I love listening to hip hop or rap. I just truly believe that each one of those artists puts so much grit and love into their music that it allows me to get into the right mindset before each game.
What do you plan to study in college or what is your career path?
I have always wanted to go into a career that was based on sports or athletes. With that being said, the career that I wish to pursue is Athletic Training. I want to help athletes recover and get back to the sport they love. I have been through a few minor injuries that took me out for a short period of time but that feeling of missing games and even practices was one of the worst feelings I have ever gone through. I want to support those athletes through their battle back into their sports and when I’m an Athletic Trainer, I will be right next to them to witness their journey.
Is there a teacher or coach who really helped you along the way?
My coach for the past four years, Michael McGivney, has helped me through many things with volleyball and even life. He’s believed in me the minute I started playing for him Freshman year. We always talk things over about the team and if we should ever change some things up to make us better and utilize the players in a better way. I wouldn’t have wanted any other coach to be alongside me during this journey and I can’t wait to play for him in this upcoming season.