Triple Threat

The girls volleyball program has begun the season with a passion for the game. Each team looks to get better as they get deeper into the season
The Girls Varsity Volleyball team has started their season with intensity. There is a sense of eagerness and urgency to work hard for every point in every game.
Their energy level has risen since last year partly because of the strong leadership from the senior heavy squad. Out of ten girls, seven are seniors. Erin Bognar, freshman, is the only freshman on the team, which is rare for varsity volleyball at Westminster.
“It has been a long time since varsity has kept a freshman. Normally the age range is sophomores to seniors,” said Christina Dohr, senior.
Kelly Penning and Sarah Hughes, seniors are captains of the team along with Kira Stewart and Sarah Hall, juniors. Each of these girls leads the team in a specific area, which benefits the team’s performance.
“Sarah Hughes is the team mom that is always caring. Kira is our vocal leader that can be heard throughout the entire gym. Sarah Hall is very steady, and the team can always rely on her. I’ve been on varsity since I was a sophomore, which is why I think I provide the team with some experience,” said Penning.
The girls look to continue to get better as a team.
“Many individual players got better during the offseason because most of us played club volleyball. Now that the season has started we have found a way to take each of our individual skills and contribute to the team,” said Penning.
It is up to Heather Kea, head coach, to put these skills in the right place.
“Coach Kea is the best coach I’ve had in my entire life. We are on a personal level with her and can talk to her about anything. We know she wants to see us continue to grow together,” said Penning.
Kea has received offers from Division I colleges to coach, but has turned them down to coach high school volleyball at Westminster.
“When we heard she turned down these opportunities we knew for sure coach really wanted to help us, which is motivation to play even harder for her,” said Penning.
Last year the varsity team took second place in districts, but this year they look to do bigger and better things.
“We want to not only win our conference this year but also districts. I know we can do it,” said Penning.
Six juniors, two sophomores, and three freshmen make up the Junior Varsity team. The girls have managed to use the diverse age range to their advantage.
“We have all levels of players. With everyone at a different level, we must put the right players in the right places and go from there. So far I feel we have done a good job at that,” said Kaylee Rosen, junior.
Rosen joins Kelsey Kindbom, junior as the captains of the team. Both girls provide a leadership role for the team.
“I am more of a structural captain, who helps to maintain the team’s focus. Kelsey specializes in encouragement,” said Rosen.
Rosen gives all the credit to Christian Junger, head coach of Junior Varsity volleyball. This is Junger’s first year as head coach. Last year he was the assistant under John Powell.
“Coach Powell was more structural, and time after time he kept us in line and focused. Coach Junger is very encouraging, and has a lot of patience. The team’s good attitude is a reflection of his humble attitude,” said Rosen.
The excitement of watching the team comes from the encouragement they provide for one another. Every girl pushes one another to make a huge effort to get better.
“We have started off slow, but with the help of one another we are gradually getting to where we want to be by the end of the season,” said Rosen.
The girls played in their first tournament at Lutheran St. Charles and never loss one game. The wildcats held every opponent to fifteen points or less. Kindbom and Rebecca Canfield, junior received all-tournament honors. To add on to the team’s success, Mari Knehans, junior was named MVP of the entire tournament.
“In that tournament everyone worked so well together. I feel that is the turning point of the season,” said Rosen.
The youngest team of the high school volleyball program is high-spirited and look to have fun every time they play. The girls are led by Abigail Andres, freshman, and Ellie Bettlach, freshman.
“We are both loud and always know what everyone should be doing (rotations). We both take charge when needed but are nice and encouraging about it. Loud and helpful to other players,” said Andres.
The freshmen team loves to have fun during practices and games. Tammy Kuiper, head coach of the freshmen volleyball team, encourages her girls to enjoy the game.
“I love her. She is an amazing coach. She knows that we are teenage girls and sometimes need to giggle but she brings us together to focus. Also, she has a lot of volleyball skills and everyone has improved tremendously. She is great at motivating us and overall is a great coach,” said Andres.
The motivation that Coach Kea provides is part of their success. She uses different methods to make practices energetic.
“Coach is strict at times, but nice and energetic for the majority of practices. During practice we have “replays” where we go through and play and if we get it wrong we go back, review it, and do it again the right way. When we make sweet plays we get Gatorade and candy,” said Courtney McGhee, freshman.
As freshmen, the girls just want to have fun playing the game they love.
“We have a goal of winning as a team and showing God’s glory in all that we do,” said Andres.