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FALL PREVIEW: Kokomo volleyball squads ready for new season
August 16, 2012North Central Conference
By Josh Sigler
Like in the transition from his first to second years as coach of the Wildkats, Jason Watson enters this fall having to again to replace his top hitters from a 10-25 squad in 2011.
And although the newcomers may not be as tall and springy as those who have come before them, Watson has high hopes for the different attributes they bring to the net.
“We had a good first week of practice, and we’re excited about where we are,” Watson said. “We’re not a very tall team, so we’re going to have to out-scrap some teams and be able to serve well and have ball control. I feel like we will be a scrappy, tough team, so I’m excited to get this season started.”
The Kats do return the most experience of any team in the county, led by senior setter Samantha Johnson.
Senior outside hitters Allie Cook and Morgan Bailey return with experience at the net, while senior defenders Morgan Mohr and Bri Poe return with experience in the back row.
Junior hitters Tori Lauderbaugh and Alanis Jones also return after a small amount of varsity time as sophomores.
“There’s been an emphasis on not only ball control, but smart play so that we’re able to cut down on our errors,” Watson said. “Last year, we would have lots of hitting and service errors, and we would give away matches that we had a chance to win. This year, I feel like they’ve shown they’re capable of keeping the ball in play and being aggressive when they need to, and make the smart play when it’s available.”
Junior Kylee Cox is the squad’s tallest player at 5-11, and will move up from the JV to add depth on the outside. Sophomores Amanda Tram (defense) and Miranda Ogle (setter/hitter) lead a young nucleus of players who Watson says will push for varsity time.
“Our kids are hungry,” Watson said. “We’ve really been working on communication on the court and calling out what’s open and available. We seem a little smarter this year, and we’re going to have to be due to our size.”