When Corrinna Weyrich entered into the world, one of her missions in life was already decided, according to Dan Williams.
“Some people are born setters,” the Hopewell Valley Central High girls’ volleyball coach said. “She is definitely a born setter.”
A setter in volleyball is akin to a basketball point guard. Weyrich must know her teammates’ strengths and opponents’ weaknesses and deliver a precise ball to a fellow Bulldog in an area where they can do the most damage.
The senior has been at it for five years, having started in eighth grade when Timberlane Middle School added girls’ volleyball.
“We didn’t have set positions, especially when everybody was just learning how to play,” Weyrich said. “But I was designated the setter and I thought ‘OK, I’ll go with it.’ It was something I just kind of fell into and it seemed like I was good at it.
“When I started playing club my freshman year I worked more at it and thought I was better at it than other positions. I could run plays and see what was going to work best for the team. I think it came naturally but I really had to work at it in the beginning. But I’m really glad they put me as setter because I loved it.”
Weyrich played it to perfection this season; averaging nearly 11 assists per match in helping Hopewell to its first winning record (8-7), first state tournament appearance and first state tournament victory.
The Bulldogs were second-seeded in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II tournament and earned a first-round bye before defeating Rumson-Fair Haven in the second round. They fell to Voorhees, 2-1, in the semifinals after winning the first set.
“I thought the season went really well,” Weyrich said. “I didn’t expect it to go that well especially since we lost a lot of seniors from last year who were really good players. But I’m really proud of all the girls this year. We went further than any of the other programs for our school in girls’ volleyball, and especially having a few players who have never played before it’s a big accomplishment.”
The season was moved from fall to winter/spring this year due to the pandemic. Because of that, several expected returnees were playing other sports, while some declined to play this year because of Covid. So Weyrich said she would have been satisfied with a .500 season.
“I was a little worried because we didn’t have as many people coming out,” she said. “But when we started playing games, we won our first scrimmage and I thought ‘OK, this is gonna go better than I had planned.’ It took a while for the team to start to gel. But once we got there we started playing really well.”
As the team’s only senior, Weyrich was the leader on and off the court. She was surrounded by some strong underclassmen such as juniors Sofie Ragins, Emilie Sawicki, Mea Allex and Megan Silberberger and sophomore Michaela Kwak.
But hitters are only as good as the setter getting them the ball, which is what made Weyrich so valuable.
“They can swing it as hard as they want to, but if your setter can’t get you the ball, it’s null and void,” Williams said. “She’s the commander out there. She’s very studious as far as the game is concerned. She always wants to push herself, always wants the team to be better. Our motto is ‘Team first, player development second, and winning third.’ She believes in that ‘team first’ and that’s what makes the difference.”
Weyrich played field hockey through seventh grade. After undergoing knee surgery for an overuse injury, she decided to take on a new challenge when volleyball was introduced at Timberlane.
After falling in love with it, Weyrich began club in ninth grade and played for the Bulldogs freshman team before moving to JV as a sophomore. She took over the starting varsity job as a junior.
“Last year she had her struggles,” Williams said. “But she found her way, and she became a real leader on our team. She’s a very vocal leader, she understands the game and she’s very studious. I’m gonna miss her.
“This season she was putting the ball in the right place. She knows what hitters to go to; she knows what the defense is doing on the other side.”
As a “born setter” much of that ability is innate, but Weyrich also had to work at it both mentally and physically.
“It’s a little bit of both,” she said. “I would look at the other teams before we played them and I said, ‘OK I know this team has a good block, so I’m going to set the middle slightly outside of the block so we can get around it.’ Or I’ll see that they’re not good defensively in a particular spot so if I set the outside (hitter) I’ll let them know where to go in that sense.”
It is not surprising that intelligence played a major part in Weyrich’s volleyball success, as she has a 4.0 unweighted grade point average and 4.4 weighted GPA. Weyrich is leaning toward attending Northeastern University to enroll in its Explorer Program, which would allow her to partake in various majors in order to find an interest.
As a four-year member of the school paper, Weyrich was one of this year’s senior editors and was responsible for handing out assignments, editing and layout. She also joined Panorama, a literary arts magazine, and gave lessons at Timberlane as a member of PANDA, which focuses on prevention of alcohol and drug abuse.
And finally, Weyrich was part of “Bulldogs Bite Back,” a group that raised over $50,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Since Northeastern is a Division I school, Weyrich will not attempt to play varsity volleyball if she decides to attend.
“But they have a really good club program, so I’m planning to play club,” she said. “It’s still really competitive; it’s just not as big of a time commitment.”
If her college career is anything like high school, Weyrich will need all the time she can get to partake in a wide variety of activities.
And it should be no problem to ‘set’ it all up.