SK anxious to put last season behind them

It may be Jessica Anderson’s second season, but don’t expect a sophomore slump.

In fact, the South Kitsap volleyball coach and her small but strong group of senior leaders see just the opposite taking place this year.

And there won’t be any comparisons to last year’s squad that went 5-9 overall and 3-4 in Narrows League Bridge Division play  

“Last year’s team was very different,” Anderson said. “They weren’t really mine. It was a totally different makeup of girls. The dynamics were totally different.

“These girls are much more cohesive,” Anderson said. “They like each other, they respect each other and when that happens, they play well with each other.”

The Wolves will field what looks like a relatively young team as just four seniors — Joyce Vaiaga’e, Jessica Meddles, Ashley Youngs and Amanda Pierson — made the varsity squad. But with Vaiaga’e joining returning starters Kylen Boddie and Erika Doremus, there’s more experience than meets the eye.

Especially with a year’s worth of work and the awkwardness of a first-year system behind them.

“I’m more comfortable and they know how I work and they know what my expectations are now,” Anderson said. “They’re more mine than the girls were last year. And that makes a huge difference because they’re more responsive and they’re more receptive of what I have to say and how I’m trying to coach them.”

Vaiaga’e said Anderson has improved much over the year as well.

“She’s more polished. She looks more confident, and she knows what she is doing,” said Vaiaga’e, an outside hitter. “I know I’m more used to her, and I’m getting more comfortable in playing my game.”

The Wolves look to field a well-balanced team this year that has been together in some capacity for more than two years.

“We’ve been together forever, and I know these girls very well,” Vaiaga’e said. “They play great, and I enjoy being with them.”

Youngs, Meddle and Pierson all played on the junior varsity last year and should complement the play of Boddie, Vaiaga’e and Doremus.

“It’s different, but I’ve adjusted,” said Youngs, the team’s setter. “We all went through summer camps with coach Anderson and we’ve all played together before, so I think it’s going to be OK.”

Anderson said one the team’s strengths this year will be the play of setters Boddie and Youngs and the outside hitting of Doremus and Vaiaga’e.

“I think you are going to see some powerful hitting,” Anderson said. “And I think we’re going to be right up there with the top teams in the league.”

Being at the top of the league is the goal, all four seniors said. And they all think they have the camaraderie to pull it off.

“The enthusiasm level is a lot higher,” Meddles said. “We just have to remember to not let ourselves get down and not get mad at ourselves because that lets the whole team down.”

South will have plenty of time to shape its game with an extended pre-league schedule that gets under way on Sept. 6 with a home match against Class 3A Bainbridge Island.

The Wolves will play seven non-league games plus take part in a tournament before hitting the court Oct. 4 for Bridge Division play.

All those games should pay dividends.

“I think we play pretty well together,” Pierson said. “We just need to go into the non-league games and play hard and learn from them.”

That is something Anderson hopes to see all year long. She said she wants her team to be aggressive and play tough, but heart and hustle are the two things she is really looking for out of this team.

“I hope this is a team that has a full heart,” Anderson said. “They are just going out there and they are not letting any ball drop on the floor – they are wiping the floor with themselves. That’s what I hope to see this year.”

2005 South Kitsap Volleyball schedule

Date Opponent Location Time

Sept. 6 Bainbridge South Kitsap 3:30 p.m.

Sept. 8 Federal Way Federal Way 6:15 p.m.

Sept. 15 Life Christian Tacoma 6 p.m.

Sept. 17 Kentlake Tourney Kentlake 10 a.m.

Sept. 20 Stadium Tacoma 4:45 p.m.

Sept. 22 Mount Tahoma South Kitsap 5 p.m.

Sept. 26 Lincoln South Kitsap 5 p.m.

Sept. 28 Foss Tacoma 4:45 p.m.

Oct. 4 Gig Harbor South Kitsap 5 p.m.

Oct. 6 Bremerton South Kitsap 5 p.m.

Oct. 11 Port Angeles Port Angeles 6:30 p.m.

Oct. 13 North Kitsap South Kitsap 5 p.m.

Oct. 18 Central Kitsap Silverdale 6:30 p.m.

Oct. 20 Shelton South Kitsap 5 p.m.

Oct. 24 Olympic Silverdale 6:30 p.m.

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