Volleyball season begins for Riverside High School with a new coach in a new league.
First-year coach Tamra Davisson and the Rams move into the Frontier League where she hopes to eventually become competitive.
“It’s a building year, definitely,” she said. “We have good freshmen coming in. It’s our strongest class right now.”
Riverside has but three returning players, setter Katie Putnam, outside hitter Erin Nelson and defensive specialist Anna Westenskow.
Newcomers are seniors Lynn Whittekiend, a middle blocker, Jennifer Groth, an outside hitter and junior hitters Cheryl Tallant, Kelli Riddle, Meredith Thompson, and Colleen Henson.
“The basic skills are there,” said Davisson. “We’re working on a more complicated defense and offensive attack.”
Davisson played at Gonzaga University before coming to Riverside as an art teacher and junior varsity coach a year ago.
“I always had the attitude to be the best you can be and when I found out what I was better at, I focused on those areas,” she said, of the combination of art and sport.
She said she is also looking forward to new Frontier League competition.
“I know Riverside hasn’t done well in the past,” she said. “We’re looking to the future and building something to be excited about.”
Stags seeking return to state
In her third year with Deer Park’s varsity and after a year with the Empire Volleyball Club, Leah Wiiest knows where her team is headed.
“Last year everybody got incredibly sick and couldn’t work out,” she said. “This year the seniors want to go to state.”
Most of last year’s team returns, including fourth-year varsity players Angie Pittz, who moves back to outside hitter from setter, and Jaidene Watson.
“We need Angie’s hitting,” said Wiiest. “She wanted to hit all year last year.”
Also back are setters Tami Michaels, a junior and Becca Magart, a sophomore.
Front row veterans include Heather Simms, a junior, Julie Borchers and Kara Palmer.
Newcomers are seniors Heather Darrow, in her second year after two seasons of soccer, Becca Lantz and defensive specialist Shelene Krous.
“We’re probably among the top four in league, we’re usually there,” said Wiiest. “I think the seniors might be more motivated this year.”
Lakeside ready for next step
A year after new coach Angela Newcomb and her players familiarized themselves with each other, Lakeside is ready to move.
“We’re leaps and bounds beyond where we were last year,” said Newcomb.
There are seven varsity returnees but the team is still young. Only three players are seniors, including starting setter Christy Sandman and middle blocker Lora Jolley. The third, Tara Reardon is up from jayvee.
Juniors Carrie Waddell and Sara Schumacher and sophomores Linsey Heebink, Amber Sandman and Janel Long all lettered.
New to the team are juniors Raelena Bowell, Jessica Hatch and Felicia Lewis and freshman Nikki Petticrew.
“She will be outstanding,” said Newcomb. “She has tremendous arm swing and plays with a lot of finesse.”
Newcomb said that competition among 8 or 9 players is stern, including definite starters Sandman, Jolley and Schumacher.
“I really do think we have stronger players,” she said. “The hitting has improved tremendously. I’m really excited and can’t wait to start.”