Freshmen finish v-ball season strong
In her first season at Tonganoxie High school as freshman volleyball coach, Laura Samuels is already making an impact on her players.
"Katelyn Colgrove sort of adopted my serve," said Samuels, who played college volleyball at Manhattan Christian College. "It's kind of funny because Brandon and Tiffany Parker were my coaches when I went to Tonganoxie and they taught me the serve."
Samuels described the serve as a standing serve with no stepping. She described it as being simpler than others.
"If you have the strength in your arms, you have a good toss and a good swing, it's effective," Samuels said.
The THS freshman team finished the season 21-16. Samuels had her team playing at a high level at the end of the year. The Chieftains won eight of their last nine matches, including a victory at the Perry Invitational on Oct. 6.
THS went 4-0 at the tournament and defeated McLouth, Osage City, Jefferson West and Perry-Lecompton.
Next, Tonganoxie defeated Piper and Basehor-Linwood on Oct. 8. THS finished its season at a quadrangular at Perry. Tonganoxie defeated Perry and Eudora, but lost against Lansing.
The Chieftains freshmen finished in the upper half of the KVL this season. They finished fourth in the KVL tournament in September.
Samuels mentioned Danielle Miller as a can't-miss talent who could make impact on the varsity roster as soon as next season. Miller led the freshman team in kills and stuff blocks this season.
The Chieftains varsity roster will graduate eight players after this season, opening spots all over the floor.
"She's a very athletic girl who cares about pushing herself and pushing others," Samuels said of Miller. "She has so much talent."
Another freshman to keep an eye on is Kelsey Rodell, who led the Chieftains in digs. She could battle for varsity time next season since senior defensive specialist Hannah Herrstrom is graduating.
"I actually had an official come up to me and say, 'I think she's even better than some JV liberos we've seen this year,'" Samuels said of Rodell. "She has a good chance of playing varsity next year if she sticks with it."