ILWACO, Wash. - "I would be happy as a clam if our team made it to district, but how we do in the win column depends upon how we come together as a team and how some of the teams we played tough last season develop as well," Ilwaco volleyball coach Grant Chinn says.
The Lady Fishermen will have to climb one notch from fifth to fourth in the tough Trico League to make Chinn's happiness mollusk-like.
Ilwaco Volleyball glance2002 record: 4-9, fifth place Trico League
Key players lost: Heather Hocking and MaryMargaret Tomberlin
Key returnees: Nicole Adams, Michelle Wroble, Katie Hazen, Marissa Janas
Outlook: Three quarters of the team are freshmen and sophomores, making this year number two of a rebuilding project that will eventually bring success.The good news for the second-year coach is that there are 32 girls out this season. The flip side is that only two are seniors and three-fourths of the team is made up of freshmen and sophomores.
Nicole Adams (outside hitter, defense) and Michelle Wroble (middle blocker) provide the senior leadership and will be a big part of any success the Lady Fishermen have this campaign. Juniors Racheal Zimmerman (outside hitter) returns and Holly Hocking (setter, outside hitter) is turning out for the first time.
Sophomore Katie Hazen (setter, outside hitter) saw plenty of playing time last year and will be counted on heavily. Classmates Carly Taylor (defense), Monica Smith (defense), Becky Graff (defense) and Marissa Janas (setter) all are slated to contribute at the varsity level. Freshman standout, Amber Stanley, will also see varsity action says Chinn.
"My goal is for the girls to have a positive environment. I want to see them become better people, better volleyball players and develop into a better team. I want them to develop a passion for the game of volleyball and have fun,"
The freshmen contingent of Lady Fishermen is Bethany Heimbigner, Ali Brooks, Tatiana Bullock, Madeline Dickerson, Kyleigh Friend, Tara Hankins, Chelsy Mehrer, Chelsea Ostgaard, Erin Shaw, Danielle Dimick, Krystal McCaughan and Jamie Thomas.
Sophomores on the squad include Brianna Beller, Sabrina Faggard, Angela Kimbrough, Jessie Landeros, Sara Morris and Jenny VanOver. Other juniors out for volleyball include Brianna Smith, Tasha Nesbitt, Brittany Nagy and Kelli Boyer.
"It will be very interesting to see how the season unfolds," Chinn concludes as tunes blare from the boom box and the girls hustle between drills during two-a-day practices. Lonee Fitzer is Chinn's rookie assistant, having coached and played club volleyball in Manteca, Calif.