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King's West volleyball eyes Tri-District berth first, state later
Most teams coming off a state berth dream of a triumphant return to the top level.
Last fall, King’s West made its state volleyball debut, going 1-2 before bowing out of the WIAA 2B State Volleyball tournament.
So then why is it King’s West is focused on Tri-Districts rather than state?
“My goals for this season are to make it to Tri-District,” first-year King’s West coach Lesley Doyle said. “Once we have achieved that goal then we can turn our sights to further down the road.”
Doyle, who had previously been an assistant coach at KW, takes over a Warrior squad stocked with talent even after the loss of seniors like Megan Morris, Megan Spence and Hillary Sexauer.
“We lost three seniors last year,” Doyle said. “All three were tough to lose as two of them were our starting middle hitters and one was a defensive specialist (who) played every game.”
But with a trio returning of middle Liz Johnson, setter Irene Moore and outside hitter Hannah Fontenot, the Warriors are ready to make another run at the SeaTac League. It won’t be without a fight though.
“I think the league will prove to be just as tough if not tougher than last year,” Doyle said. “Teams to beat continue to be Rainier Christian, Bear Creek, Seattle Lutheran and Evergreen Lutheran.”
But King’s West’s power trio aren’t ones to be intimidated.
“All three were starters on last years team and I expect them to continue to lead the way,” she said of her team captains. “They stand out for their leadership, commitment to the team and their work ethic.”
King’s West won big against Quilcene 3-0 (25-16, 25-8, 25-11) on Tuesday. Johnson served up 10 aces for the Warriors, adding six kills, while Fontenot equalled that kill count, adding six aces of her own. Chelsea Tenneson added eight more aces for the serve-happy Warriors (3-1, 2-1). In fact, Johnson was recently named a Seattle Times state 2B athlete of the week.
But they aren’t the only players expected to contribute.
“We also have a freshman starting this year, Meaghan Houser, who has the potential to be a big contributor and we will need her to pull through if we are to go far in postseason play,” Doyle said. “We also have two juniors starting this year that were part of last year’s team, outside hitter Samantha Kappart and defensive specialist Jill Morris, both of whom should be consistent performers.”
Junior setter Brie Seeley also returns while another newcomer is sophomore Rae Fu.
Serving has been the team’s strong point early, as evidenced in the Quilcene win. That’s something King’s West will need to continue if it is to return to state.
“The key to staying completive this year will continue to be our serving and hitting conversion,” Doyle said. “Our team thrives off tough serving and during a tight match those tough serves provide a great deal of momentum.”
Doyle said the team understands last year’s accomplishment, but also knows it will take even more hard work to get back.
“I think the team feels proud to have gotten there last year and optimistic that if enough things come together we have chance to go again,” Doyle said. “I think we have the potential to go to state, however, whether we go or not (we do) will depend on our ability to consistently rise to the occasion and find our groove.”
But that very consistency is something Doyle thinks she can help foster.
“I am looking forward to building a consistent program and seeing the team succeed,” she said.
King’s West took on Tacoma Baptist in a road match Thursday and Chief Leschi last night, but results were unavailable at press time.
Today the team travels to the Raymond Tournament. The Warriors next home game is Thursday, Oct. 2 against Seattle Lutheran at 6 p.m.