Best days are ahead for spikers
Kelly Meyer has the spirit, enthusiasm and above all optimism that is prevalent in all first-year coaches.
In this instance, she might be the perfect person to be coaching the DeSoto High volleyball team. The Wildcats, ravaged by the opening of Mill Valley, might be young. They might lack experience, but don't try to give Meyer a chance to use any of that as an excuse.
"We will definitely be at least a .500 team," said Meyer, who has coached the last six years in the local Junior Olympics program. "We are a young team, but I have high expectations as well as hope for this season."
David Beach is feeling the same way at Mill Valley High. Watching a medium-size Class 5A program get sliced into two Class 4A programs will dilute the product a little bit. But the Jaguars have more experience.
With five returning letter-winners, Mill Valley could be in a position to cause some trouble in the Kaw Valley League.
"There are some good volleyball athletes on this team," said Beach, who begins his second year as a head volleyball coach. "We're young, but we have lots of potential."
Senior Jessie Copher will be the team's leader, while juniors Mindy DeGroot and Brooke Woolery will play large roles in the Jaguars' success. Sophomores Kelli Wilbur and Ellie Gundelfinger will also see their share of playing time.
The Wildcats will be led by a crop of strong underclassmen, including middle hitters Allie Heinen, a freshman, and sophomore Emily Holton. Junior setter Tia Bernard will set the tone for the DeSoto offense.
Others who should play a hand will be McKenzie King, Nicki Crowley, Lisa Lambert, Kristi Houschouer and Megan Atwell.
Each team opens its season Tuesday at 5 p.m. DeSoto will travel to Anderson County, while Mill Valley hosts Washington, St. Teresa and Ottawa.