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K-M volleyball looks to make push for playoffs | SLIDESHOW
Editor's note: This week the Kent Reporter looks at the Kent-Meridian volleyball program. Next week the Reporter previews Kentridge.
The Kent-Meridian High School girls volleyball team returns to maintain its pedigree next week during its first home game.
The Royals feature just two returning starters. Getting the new players up to speed has been the focus of coach Michael Christiansen, who has spent the last week focusing on building cohesion and maintaining a winning mentality.
"I'm hoping some of these underclassmen step up and take control of the idea of winning and competing every time we go out and play," he said.
More than 20 girls tried out for the junior varsity and varsity teams, almost twice the number of previous years, Christiansen said.
The team's practices have focused on coordinating positioning as well as passing and setting skills. Despite hitting the ground running from between tryouts and the first days of school, the girls have approached practice enthusiastically.
Whether it's diving for a bump or leaping for a spike, the Royals don't plan on giving ground easily, and Christiansen's intense practice sessions keep the team on its feet and thinking fast. His drills incorporate quickly moving the players around the court, quickly bumping, setting, and spiking before rotating out for another pair.
Another highlight of the Royals preseason was their trip to Seattle University on Monday to see the Redhawks square off against the Eastern Washington University Eagles and learn a thing or two from the college teams.
Senior setter and team captain Faith Faamausili said that she liked seeing the teams warm up and play, and saw ways to improve her team. Specifically, Faamausili said that while college-level players may execute with more complexity than high school teams, the basics of passing, positioning and footwork remained the same.
These basics and general teamwork will continue to be focal points for a team that is taking shape, with many player slots yet to be filled. The team has big shoes to fill, having made district playoffs every year for the past five years as well as advancing to the state playoffs two years ago.
Kelsie Wang, a senior playing her first year on the team, said that she likes the pressure of the team's playoff history.
"It gives us a goal to reach for," she said.