Kingston Bucs love to volley

KHS spiker Arianna Finland works out with the team during practice last week at Kingston High School. - Brad Camp/Staff photo
KHS spiker Arianna Finland works out with the team during practice last week at Kingston High School.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff photo

KINGSTON — At Kingston High they definitely love volleyball. It’s blatantly obvious by the over-the-top effort the kneepad totting, big hitters demonstrate at practice.

On Monday 34 young women — up from last year’s 22 — turned out to join the volleyball squad. Practice starts at 2 p.m., but the athletes are at the gym every day at 1:30 p.m., dressed and ready to go.

New head coach Lacey Menne said they all have outstanding attitudes and enthusiasm to match. They show up because they love volleyball and want to be there, which is really all a coach can ask for, as it can’t be taught.

It’s the team’s commitment to the sport and to each other that causes Menne to brim with confidence and excitement of her own.

“All of them are so excited to be here and the enthusiasm level is huge,” she said. “They all try so hard. It’s not always about skills, it’s more about attitude, and to have a group of girls who are all trying makes them unique.”

Last year the Bucs went 1-11. Although the teams are just forming and no season desires have been shared, Menne said they all have personal goals in their minds. But above all daily improvement is the top quest, which is definitely in this spirited team’s grasp.

Admittedly, the Bucs aren’t a really tall team, which is something they’ll have to work around through hard-core conditioning and vertical-jump training. Implementing a cerebral-style of play will also compensate for what the team lacks in height, as will sound defensive strategy.

Menne said to achieve consistent skill and performance progress, she’ll drill the concepts of smart play. It’s not always about attacking or big hits as it is about brains.

“We need to be able to look at the court and see where the other team might have a weakness and use that against them,” she said. “Based on our smart play this team will be able to cause other teams to make mistakes that count against them point-wise.”

Menne turns to three athletes to direct the team in leadership and heart: Junior setter Jordan Tapp, whose constantly pushing herself; senior Anna Finlon, who masters every position and has stellar defense; and senior outside hitter Rachel Bishop, whose hits will be the Bucs’ big hits this year.

As the team is fairly fresh Menne has them practice for three hours five days a week, as the more time spent on the court the better they’ll be.

North Mason will prove to be some of the Olympic League’s top competition, as they’ve got the height and returning players to be a threat. But until that showdown arrives the Bucs are focusing all their energy on their season-opener against district rival North Kitsap at 6:15 p.m. on Sept. 9 at Kingston. The team is already jazzed for the contest and rounding up as large a fan base as it can, Menne said.

“It will be a big, builtup game,” she said. “The gym will be noisy. We’re looking forward to playing them and showing off our skill level.”

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