Future promising for volleyball team
Last year the Tonganoxie High School volleyball team finished 13-17 not a bad record but one that leaves plenty of room for improvement.
With a new coach and a young team that has experience, this year's Tonganoxie High School volleyball team is in a position to not only have a winning season, but also to build a lasting, successful program.
"They're used to having a winning program in Tonganoxie," said new coach Kelly Alexander. "I'd like to see that continue."
And there is a good chance that it will.
With four varsity starters returning from last season all of whom were sophomores last year the team has a young, talented base to build on.
LeAnn Bond, last year's head coach and this year's ninth-grade coach, said that returning starters Andrea Korb, Aimee Eisman, Melissa Crowley and Kerilyn Walker all bring different strengths to the team.
She said that Korb was one of the volleyball team's best outside hitters last year and a strong all-around player.
Eisman, who played middle in sub-state last year, is another strong hitter, who could see time at either middle or outside.
Bond said that Crowley could be the strongest back row player on the team.
Walker was one of the team's top setters last season and should be again this year.
Joining these four varsity players from last year are five or six underclasswomen who played junior varsity last season.
That means that the oldest players on the varsity squad this year will mostly be juniors. That means by next season, the team could have more varsity experience than any team it plays.
"Next year we'll have at least seven seniors with a lot of varsity experience," Bond said. "That's crazy."
In fact, there is only one senior on this year's squad.
"It's a young team," Bond said. "The only returning senior on the team is Amy Galyean, who was the manager last year."
And, after suffering though a hectic season, the girls who are returning are also toughened to adversity.
Bond didn't become the coach until the beginning of the season, then at the end of the season right before sub-state, she was hospitalized with a broken arm.
This year's team, besides featuring young, experienced players, also features a new coach who has coached on the national level.
Alexander, who was hired last spring after spending four years coaching at Turner High School in Kansas City, Kan., also coached a Junior Olympic Team during the summer.
Alexander took Team K.C., a team of 15-year-olds, to the national tournament in Kentucky, where it finished ninth in the nation.
The new coach also knows a little about Tonganoxie volleyball.
A 1990 graduate of Immaculata High School, Alexander spent her high school career trying to beat them.
The team will have two-a-day practices from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 14 though Aug. 16. Practice will be from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 17 and 18.
"We have a young team," Alexander said. "I'm very excited and anxious to get started."