Volleyball preview: Net gains expected this season

Senior setter Tia Arrowsmith is among several returners on this season
Senior setter Tia Arrowsmith is among several returners on this season's South Kitsap volleyball team.
— image credit: File photo

Schedule Date Opponent Time
Monday Foss 6 p.m.
Sept. 10 Sundome Tournament 8 a.m.
Sept. 15 at Wilson 4:45 p.m.
Sept. 22 Kentlake 6 p.m.
Sept. 27 at North Mason 6:15 p.m.
Oct. 3 Central Kitsap 6 p.m.
Oct. 5 at Gig Harbor 4:45 p.m.
Oct. 11 Mount Tahoma 6 p.m.
Oct. 13 Olympia 6 p.m.
Oct. 15 Bearcat Invitational 8:30 a.m.
Oct. 17 Shelton 6 p.m.
Oct. 18 at North Kitsap 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 19 Stadium 6 p.m.
Oct. 24 at Bellarmine Prep 4:45 p.m.

Coach: Jessica Anderson, eighth season.
Key returners: S Tia Arrowsmith, sr.; OH Toni Bell, jr.; L Casey Deese, jr.; MB Maile Keanu, sr.; OH Sarah Lacey, sr.
Key departures: OH Tonya Forster, sr.; S Shelby Jackson, sr.; S Kailyn Skjonsby, jr.
Key newcomers: MB Megan Murnane, jr.

Experience should not be an issue this season.

For that reason, there seems to be plenty of optimism around South Kitsap’s volleyball program.

In a season that was characteristic of many programs at the school, the sophomore-laden Wolves finished 3-9 overall and 2-5 in Class 4A Narrows League play.

But with several of those players gaining a year of experience, there is a belief that South should improve this year. Returning juniors include outside hitters Toni Bell and Sarah Lacey and libero Casey Deese.

“I feel like we’re going to be pretty strong,” said Bell, who moved from middle blocker to outside hitter this season. “There’s new girls coming up, but we’ve all pretty much played together.”

South coach Jessica Anderson already sees the difference in workouts. She said the team “is starting at a different point” in practice because they are familiar with the different offensive and defensive sets and calls.

“I believe we’re going to be more successful and more competitive,” she said.

The Wolves graduated senior Shelby Jackson and also lost a pair of varsity contributors — Tonya Forster (fastpitch) and Kailyn Skjonsby (tennis) — that elected to concentrate on other sports.

“I think as the years go on, kids become more specialized in one sport,” Anderson said.

Those departures meant South needed another outside hitter to complement Lacey. Bell solved that by moving from middle blocker. Anderson said she elected to make the move based on the team’s need and Bell’s desire to play  outside.

She said the team also has depth at middle blocker with senior Maile Keanu returning and junior Megan Murnane moving up from junior varsity.

The Wolves will have an opportunity to gauge their improvement Sept. 10 when they play in the 32-team Sundome Invitational in Yakima. They open the season at 6 p.m. Monday against Foss, which plays in 3A Narrows.

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