High school volleyball: Defending champ Timpview opens season No. 1, but T-Birds' focus is on the present
Ben Brewer, Deseret News
PROVO — Most of the girls on the Timpview volleyball roster know exactly how it feels to hoist that state championship trophy.
They know the work required.
They know the joy that accompanies the triumph.
And with most of them returning, albeit with a few of them in different positions, they could easily see a return trip to the center court at UVU’s UCCU Center in November.
But according to their coach, last year’s accomplishment is the last thing on their minds as they prepare for the upcoming season.
“We don’t feel like we’re defending anything,” said coach Kristen Bailey. “It was the 2013 team that won the state title. We’re 2014. We’re not looking back at what we did last year. We’re only looking at what we need to do this year.”
What the team needs to do is adjust to some changes in positions, as well as incorporate a few additions to the starting lineup. But the Thunderbirds do have a huge advantage in that most of the players who will represent the school on the court this season have varsity experience.
Leading the team are twins and three-year starters — Lacy and Lyndie Haddock. They’ll get plenty of support from returning starters Maliyah Tela, a senior setter; Annie Hoffiens, a senior outside hitter; and Anessa Atuaia, a senior middle hitter. The team will be strengthened by the addition of two players — a move-in named Sai Collins and a student who returns from Brazil, Aggie Roose. Roose and Tela will compete for setting time in the team’s 6-2 offense. Lacy Haddock is the other starting setter in the powerful offense. Sarah Roach played significant time on the junior-varsity level and will help the T-Birds in the middle.
Bailey said most of the players will move to new positions, and most of those moves are to positions they originally played.
“I needed them on the court but in different positions last year,” Bailey said. “We feel pretty good. I think our region is going to be really tough this year.”
Three of the top five teams in the Deseret News preseason rankings come from Region 8. Salem Hills, a team Timpview beat in 2011 for the 4A title, is ranked second.
The Skyhawks return a strong core, led by four seniors, two of whom have already committed to play college volleyball.
Senior outside hitter Andrea Hale will play for Weber State University, and senior libero Ellie Cottam will play for UVU.
“We have solid leadership,” said Salem Hills coach Kathy Treanor. “They’re looking good and they’re looking strong.”
Treanor said the team has struggled in the past with teams that have really fought hard just to make the state tournament, while they’ve had a less-challenging path. She said it’s caused them to focus on what they can do, regardless of the opponent, as they prepare for the upcoming season.
“To compete in our region we just have to be consistent,” she said. “We don’t focus on what’s going to the best in the region. We have to focus on what’s going to be the best in the state.”
Both teams play in the Rocky Mountain Classic and Bingham Invitational tournaments in hopes of facing tough competition before the state tournament.
Skyline starts the season ranked third, and proved it's a solid team by winning the Tournament of Champions, which the Eagles host. Abby Selcho, Abigail Olds and setter Helena Wolff lead Skyline this season.
Mtn. Crest is ranked fourth, while region 8’s Springville, a talented team with a new coach, rounds out the top five.
Bailey said her team will face some of the state’s best teams in the Rocky Mountain and Bingham tournaments.
“We’ll figure out really quickly how we measure up,” she said. “Right now we’re just working hard. They love to play, and they’re ready to compete.”
DESERET NEWS 4A VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON RANKINGS
2. Salem Hills
4. Mtn. Crest
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