Basehor’s Lombardino is becoming force in the middle
Senior has led Bobcats to 10-4 record on season
Cassie Lombardino has become a player to reckon with in Basehor-Linwood's front line this season.
The senior has been there to block an opponents' volleyball on offense or come through with a big kill on offense.
"Cassie has improved significantly over last year, she is a great front row force for us, she is blocking very well and serving tough," coach Tammy Zydlo said.
On the season, she has 107 kills out of 222. She has 62 blocks and 10 aces.
She also brings with her a bit of motivation.
"She is a very athletic 6-foot-2 and has an intimidation factor in the front row," Zydlo said. "She has more confidence this year. She is hitting the ball stronger and harder."
Lombardino said this year's volleyball team, which is currently 10-4, could become one of the best in recent memory. The potential was always there, and a summer of hard work didn't hurt, either.
Most members of the team played in a summer volleyball league and attended a Kansas University volleyball camp in Lawrence. Team members also were involved in the summer strength and conditioning program.
Add it all up, and the team is poised to improve upon the 17-18 mark of last year, which had been the school's best record in quite some time.
"I think we are off to a great start," Lombardino said. "We are making progress and I think we have high potential. I think the season is looking good."
Lombardino, a senior middle hitter, thinks the veteran presence on the team has improved productivity.
"We have a lot of leadership with all the seniors we have," Lombardino said. "We all chip in with the leadership. We all work as a team, pretty much. We have great chemistry."
Lombardino began playing volleyball in seventh grade. She has played on the high school squad for the last four years.
Also a basketball star, Lombardino enjoys the differences between the sports.
"I really enjoy volleyball," Lombardino said. "It's a lot of fun. It's different than basketball but it is a good different. I enjoy playing it."
Lombardino said she has become a better basketball player through her experiences in volleyball.
"Volleyball is a big momentum sport and it really teaches you if you make a mistake, you should just move on and just make it up," she said. "If you get down, it brings the whole team down."
Lombardino said she had to work on blocking, being aggressive at the net and serving. She echoed coach Tammy Zydlo's sentiments that the team as a whole must improve in serving.
"In close games you have to have your serving," Lombardino said. "It can make or break a game."
Lombardino has been working with setter Brooke Sanders on getting the ball in a position to beat the other team's blockers.
"Brooke is really good," Lombardino said.
As for season goals, Lombardino said a team goal is to win the Kaw Valley League. So is this goal attainable?
"Yeah I do -- we just have to keep working everyday," Lombardino said. "It won't be easy, but I believe if everyone wants it we can do it."