For Wolves, it’s all about strength

South Kitsap volleyball coach Jessica Anderson expects her team’s better physical condition to translate into more success in the won-loss column this season. - Jesse Beals/Staff Photo
South Kitsap volleyball coach Jessica Anderson expects her team’s better physical condition to translate into more success in the won-loss column this season.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/Staff Photo

Youthful team spent more time

in the weight room during summer

The Wolves hope a summer of hard work can turnaround their volleyball program.

After a 4-11 overall record and 3-7 mark in Narrows League play, the South Kitsap High School volleyball team joined others around campus, such as the football program, for workouts three days per week in the weight room.

Setter Cortney Echternach, one of four returning seniors, said the difference has been noticeable as South Kitsap prepares for its season opener Monday against North Kitsap.

“We have a lot of strength,” she said. “The lifting is helping has really helped with our hitting. It’s given us more power all around.”

Coach Jessica Anderson agreed.

“I think as far as our athleticism and conditioning are concerned, we’re going to be ahead of last year,” she said.

That might be important given the team’s inexperience.

In addition to Echternach, Stephanie Osterdahl (middle hitter), Angel Sheldon (outside hitter) and Sarah Voigt (libero) are the only seniors.

“It’s going to be a learning process for the first couple of weeks, but we have a lot of potential,” Echternach said. “We’re just trying to teach them the rotation.”

The team also traveled to participate at Washington State University’s team camp during the summer, and Anderson said she noticed the team picking up on some of the nuances they learned there.

“We’re already starting to see the results,” she said. “We’re going to see little progressions here and there, and that’s what I’m going to consider success.”

Communication on the court was reinforced at the camp, a lesson Osterdahl said she knows all too well from last year.

She said chemistry was a problem on and off the court at times for the Wolves.

“Communication is the key in volleyball,” she said. “If you’re not all talking, everything goes down the drain.”

Echternach and Osterdahl, along with Anderson, said the team has improved in that aspect from a year ago.

“I think we all get along and have good chemistry,” Osterdahl said.

Anderson, who now is in her fifth year as coach, also hopes the team benefits from the stability within the coaching staff. Every player has gone through the program with her.

“They only understand this program,” she said. “They understand the expectations, the system, that we’re supposed to communicate.”

How that will translate on the court remains to be seen.

South lost its first match last season at Peninsula and never seemed to gain confidence.

“It’s just a matter of not letting down,” Echternach said. “We can’t give up on ourselves.”

That’s the work left to solve.

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