LAKEWOOD — The Lady Cougars are returning to the court for their first week of volleyball practice, and even in a non-competitive practice match they are focused, skilled and working together to communicate for what they hope will be a successful season.
Lakewood returns eight players, seven of them seniors, and they are hoping that 2013 will be their year — and they want to build on the success of last season.
“We have gone to districts for the past four or five years in a row,” said head coach Tasha Kryger. “Last year, the girls wanted to go to the second day of districts and when they did, it was the first time since 1989 or 1990 that Lakewood went that far. I think our success at districts has really set the tone for this year. Our goal is to go to districts again and take it one step further.”
The seniors are working on incorporating younger players in team-building exercises prior to their first game.
“We did the youth camp this summer, which was helpful for our younger girls,” said Kryger. “We also went to a team camp at Eastern Washington University, which we haven’t done in a few years. The coaching staff there is amazing, and the girls played well together and learned a lot. There were teams from around the Spokane and Idaho area, and we made it into the top four. We didn’t play it out between third and fourth, but since we beat the other team before, I figure we were basically third out of 16 teams.”
Their summer success brought a lot of excitement for the players who are hoping to prove that they can compete and go further in districts than any Lakewood volleyball team has gone in decades — but first they must get through the first couple weeks of practice.
“I’m a big believer in coaching the fundamentals,” said Kryger. “We focus on passing and digging first, and then an emphasis on serving and then hitting. We will see what the lineups look like, but we have so much depth on this team that we can push people to different spots. These are all smart girls.”
The Cougars beat rival Archbishop Murphy several times during their district run last season, and they will meet the Wildcats again in their first match-up at home on Thursday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m.
“We are really excited for that game,” said Kryger. “We’ve been preparing for it and we want to make sure that we win again.”