Basehor volleyball squad short on size, big on experience
The Basehor-Linwood volleyball team enters the season with a checklist of goals to accomplish and a singular focus.
The Bobcats want to have a winning record and finish in the top three in the Kaw Valley League, as well as in every tournament they participate.
In addition, they want to win the Class 4A substate tournament and advance to state.
Along with the goals are a simple motto: “We walk on this floor together.”
“We are going to have to keep the focus from beginning to end,” coach Tammy Zydlo said. “Right now there’s a lot of enthusiasm, and I have good leadership from my seniors. I’ve seen some really good things in practice, but I want the players to become more ‘strategic’ in their play, i.e., more strategic in where they place the ball on hitting and serving.”
Zydlo has been pleased with her team’s effort in practice thus far, and she has a plan for how the Bobcats will need to build in order to achieve their goals.
BLHS will need to play a quicker style of offense. Players will need to be aggressive when attempting to block or serve. Every pass will be important. The fundamentals will need to be nearly flawless.
The Bobcats will have to make up for a lack of height this season. Their tallest player is just 5-foot-9. As a result, blocking and defense will have greater emphasis.
“We are running a new defensive system that I believe will allow us to convert successful digs into a better offensive position for the setter and hitters,” Zydlo said. “I think when we are able to dig the ball, we will be able to run the quicker offense that I would like us to have because the players are in better positions on the court.
“We seem to have really good team chemistry too. They also have the desire to run the quicker offense, and we are definitely serving better.”
Zydlo has a team meshed with experienced seniors and a crew of juniors and sophomores who are expected to fill voids left by last year’s seniors.
Seniors Courtney Poe, Macyn Sanders and Shelby Equels have extensive varsity experience. Poe is moving from the libero position to outside hitter. Sanders has three years of experience as a setter and Equels will play the right side and also be used as a defensive specialist.
Juniors Sydne Eriksen and Cara McCarty will be relied on for hitting and also for blocking.
In addition to the upperclassmen, a group of sophomores is expected to play a lot of points for the Bobcats.
Sophomore Haley Waters will play as libero and may see some time as an outside hitter, and Samantha Rutherford will be a middle hitter.
Rutherford played club volleyball for Team KC last year and has shown improvement. She will be looked at to fill some big shoes left from last year’s middle hitters Courtney Hooks and Tara Chumley.
Brandi Stahl will set and play the left side.
Both Poe and Stahl will be looked at to replace the steady play of Cassy Bever who graduated in 2009.
So far, Zydlo said she likes how the team is playing and hopes to see continued growth.
“I would really like to see some players emerge as the go-to player on offense,” she said. “We are an athletic team. But, some players in key positions will need to become experienced quickly, especially in the middle.”