Lakewood Cougars striving for state

LAKEWOOD — Members of the Lakewood volleyball team weren’t the only ones working up a sweat during a recent practice.

Coach Tasha Kryger, leading a drill that required her to toss a volleyball to players on one side of the court, then quickly duck under the net and repeat the process to girls on the other side, laughed as she forgot which side she was supposed to throw a ball to.

“They don’t want to slack off — they were so focused today,” Kryger said after practice Aug. 26. “We didn’t have that kind of focus until the middle of the season last year. Practices have been good — we all push each other and keep challenging each other.”

Kryger’s senior-heavy squad will need to keep up that hard work if it wants to meet its goal this year. The Cougars are hoping to improve on their district tournament berth last season and make their way to state for the first time in as long as Kryger can remember.

“Our whole team is returning from last year and they have played a lot together,” Kryger said. “Four of our girls have been playing since they were freshmen. We just keep adding players to it.”

Lakewood will return 10 players from last year, most of whom are seniors. The team only lost one player, Chrystle Clark, from last season’s group.

The Cougars won’t have one standout player this year, the coach said. Instead, a number of girls will contribute to the team.

Returners include senior captains Hayley Liebel, Megan Eby, Samantha Adams and junior Kaylee Diggs. Adding to that mix is junior Brittany Parmentier, who will again be in the middle of the Cougars’ front line.

Those girls should add size and athleticism to an already veteran team.

“They have a lot of experience and a lot of height,” she said. “Most of these girls can jump.”

The key for Lakewood will be utilizing those strengths in a strong Cascade Conference. The Cougars went 6-8 in the conference last year, 7-11 overall. Their record was good enough for a fifth-place finish and earned them a trip to districts where they went 1-2.

Kryger said she’s hoping to place in the top three conference spots this year, but acknowledged that Archbishop Murphy, King’s and South Whidbey should all be strong opponents.

“We want to give them a run for their money,” Kryger said.”

Lakewood plays at Cedarcrest at 7 p.m., Sept. 9, to open the season.

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