Basehor-Linwood volleyball hopes to thrive with Irvin
A new era of volleyball is beginning at Basehor-Linwood High School this season as Amy Irvin elevates from the junior varsity level to take over the varsity program.
Irvin, who previously coached the junior varsity team, takes over for longtime coach Tammy Zydlo, who stepped down during the summer.
“We are excited to have coach Irvin take over the volleyball program,” BLHS athletics director Joe Keeler said. “She has coached our junior varsity for six years and has done an outstanding job.”
Irvin said she is excited about the direction the program is headed.
“We have started to build a really strong program,” Irvin said. “The girls are willing to work hard and give their all every second of every day. That is a huge change from what the past has shown us. The girls are out to beat anyone we play. All of us are looking forward to a great season.”
Irvin said the team has set some basic goals for the season, including members playing up to their potential. They would also like to contend for a Kaw Valley League title.
“There are definitely teams in the league that we want to beat,” she said. “But our main goal is to go out there and fight for every point and play to our strongest ability.”
The team has a strong group of returners. Among them are Cara McCarty, middle blocker; Brandi Stahl, setter and outside hitter; Haley Waters, libero; Sam Rutherford, right-side hitter; Sydne Eriksen, right-side hitter.
Irvin said the returning players should be able to elevate their play with a year of experience.
“They know what the varsity level is like and have really stepped it up this year with the tempo of game that we are going to play,” Irvin said. “I know they will help carry this team to great success. I know I can rely on each of those girls to do their role.
“Haley Waters is so strong in the back row. Cara and Brandi are such strong hitters. Sam and Sydne have really shown growth, and I am excited to see them play. Jamie Johnson and Allison Heinen will definitely give us some strength on the front row. Hailey Robinson will share setting duties with Brandi and has done a great job. Olivia Cowan and Raime will help give us a great back row. Everyone has really stepped up to the plate and improved their individual game, and that will help make us a strong team.”
The team’s seniors — McCarty, Eriksen, Cowan and Raime Harvey — have displayed great leadership, Irvin said.
“They definitely want their leadership to stand out and surpass those of the past,” Irvin said. “They have been very positive and understand that senior leadership can help carry a team.”
The Bobcats have worked on increasing the team’s speed on offense, as well as their defensive strategy. They hope to outhustle their opponents throughout matches.
“The girls are so much more aggressive, intense and positive,” Irvin said. “That will help us just maintain our positivity and show our true potential.
“I know and they know they can beat anyone. This is the first year in a while that I truly know they think they can be extremely successful. There is no doubt, and they are willing to do the work to get there. This team is a true team. We are like a family. Everyone gets along. There is true friendship and care for one another.”