Bobcats hope to build on last season’s late success
When a volleyball team looks at its schedule and sees that its first quadrangular includes the reigning sub-state champ, that's usually the first name that jumps out.
But, although the Basehor-Linwood volleyball team will open play Tuesday against a field that includes the champions from Eudora, the Lady 'Cats are just as psyched about another Tuesday opponent, the Bonner Springs Bravettes.
Bragging rights are always on the line when Basehor and Bonner get together, but the Lady Bobcats have even more motivation than usual this year. They lost a late-season match against the Bravettes last year and had to watch them celebrate.
"I'm probably more excited about Bonner Springs, just because they're always our biggest rival," BLHS senior Lindsey Kraemer said.
Aside from Bonner Springs and Eudora, the Bobcats will also face a talented Baldwin team on Tuesday.
But Basehor-Linwood also returns plenty of talent, including assists leader Brooke Sanders and kills leader Chelsey Patton, who earned an honorable mention all-Kaw Valley League nod last season. Almost all of the varsity players at BLHS have competed together in the past, making the transition to first-year coach Tammy Zydlo's system easier.
"I see a lot of unity, I see great communication and support of teammates from everybody," Zydlo said. "There's great flow on the court, they all know where they're supposed to be."
The Lady 'Cats went through some growing pains last year, going 8-24 overall. But, by the end of the season they seemed to come together, upsetting second-seeded Sumner Academy in the playoffs and putting in a strong performance against Tonganoxie in their last match.
The BLHS players seemed eager to build on that success right after their sub-state run ended, but much happened between then and now. Last year's coach, Kristen Anthony, moved and Zydlo has only been with the program for a few months. She said the Bobcats were making progress in learning her habits and system, but still had work to do.
"I think we're on track, but I feel like we need more preparation," Zydlo said. "It seems like each practice there's another thing I think of that we need to work on."
Zydlo's debut as head coach is just one more thing to add excitement to Tuesday, which should be a big day for BLHS volleyball. But for Zydlo it hardly matters if her team is playing a rival, a sub-state champ, or just another team. She's just eager to see exactly where her players are.
"I can't say there's one team I'm more excited or nervous about," Zydlo said. "Being our first games, I'm concerned, but hopeful. We only had about two weeks to prepare and I hope we've done a good job."