TONASKET – With only two returning varsity seniors and a team of inexperienced varsity players, the Tonasket volleyball team will do the best they can this season, says head coach Nellie Kirk.
“It’s a pretty young team this year, without a lot of varsity experience,” Kirk said. “There are three girls who were on varsity last year and all three played quite a bit last year and did very well. Falisha Laurie is in her third year on varsity and she’s been doing really well and will be my best setter and a leader. April Webber has also really stepped up in the leadership role.”
The third returning senior is Maribella Alverez, who was on junior varsity last year. The total number of players on the team this year is 35, which Kirk said is about how many they’ve gotten on the team each of the last few years.
“I work a lot on basics and really try to get girls to improve skills and work together as a team,” Kirk said. “It seems there’s always a lot of things to learn, so I start at the beginning and work my way up. I’ve coached a long time and gone through a lot of transitions. The skill level has really improved throughout the years but the game itself is still the same. It’s gotten to be such a competitive sport and the girls have such a high skill level in high school.”
Kirk said the varsity team is made of juniors, sophomores and one freshman who have all stepped up and shown signs of a lot of promise. She said she’s sure they’re all going to improve a lot throughout the season with each game.
“I’d like to say we’ll get to the middle of the pact because our competition is really tough. I’m just hoping they can make it to the district playoffs,” Kirk said.
Last year’s team was 7-7 in league, 8-7 overall and Kirk said two or three of the team’s victories, against Omak and Okanogan specifically, were really good for the team. She said last year’s team beat the teams they thought they could beat.
“One strong point this year is they really seem to like each other and want to work together,” Kirk said. “Camaraderie is a really strong point for them. Inexperience is the main team weakness. They just really have a lot to learn and a lot to improve on. The girls I have are working as hard as they can and we’ll do the best we can.”