Elena Chagnovich stands out on the volleyball court and not just because she wears a different color jersey from her Pioneer teammates. In fact, her new coach Fabiana Martins can’t stop talking about how she stands out.
“Even though we lost (to Lincoln last) week, I need to highlight my Libero’s performance,” Martins said. “Elena Chagnovich did an AMAZING job! Her passes and digs were perfect. She fought for each ball and had another great match for us.”
There is no hype or hyperbole in her game. The senior can play and she’s been a stabilizing and consistent player on a young team with a new coach and plenty of improving talent. While her skills are versatile, her goals are pretty simple and straightforward – and, of course, team driven.
“For this season, my goals are to build my skills, help my team improve and win Districts,” she said.
She also is enjoying playing for Martins, in her first year running the Pioneers.
“Fabiana is amazing,” she says. “She brings such positive energy to the program and shows us a whole new side to the sport. She is so encouraging and patient when teaching us new things.”
Chagnovich, the daughter of Barbara and Dan Chagnovich, attends Community High School also plays ice hockey and ultimate Frisbee and is a member of the A Cappella Choir and The Accidentals, an extra-curricular a cappella group, where she is the business manager.
She started playing volleyball at a young age. She was on a state team in the seventh grade and then played on the top national team for her age group at Huron Valley Volleyball Club the following year.
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“I love volleyball because of the fast pace and because it is truly a team sport and the friendships I make through playing the sport,” she said.
She enjoys the challenge of playing libero even though it’s a new position on the court for the talented senior.
“I played setter the previous three years at Pioneer,” she said. “On my club team I was a DS (defensive specialist) and absolutely loved it. I love the rush I get when I dig a ball and the anticipation in serve receive. Having a majority of the defensive responsibilities on my shoulders can be overwhelming, but at the same time, the greatest challenge.
“I love playing defense and being able to dive to get a ball up. Similar to when I was a setter, as a libero I like being involved in almost every point.”
Chagnovich played club volleyball for HVVC and Legends Volleyball club. As a freshman at Pioneer, she was on JV and has spent the past three seasons on varsity. She is a co-captain with Gabby DeMott and Sarah Lewis.
Her junior year she decided to play ice hockey for Pioneer instead of playing travel volleyball.
Chagnovich, with a 3.9 grade-point average, also excels in the classroom. She has begun looking to find a home for the next four years after high school.
“I am in process of applying now,” she says. “My number one choice is the University of Pittsburgh. Pitt has everything that I am looking for in a college, it is located in a city, has good academics and there is a lot of school pride.”