8/21/2012 10:09:00 AM Turnout high for Lady Vikes volleyball Tryouts decided this year's WHS girls volleyball team, players and coaches have set goals that include improving over last season
Cheyenne Lienhard and Jesse Durnez get in some conditioning at a recent WHS volleyball practice. The Lady Vikes take on Grey Hills Acadamy in their first home game of the season Sept. 6. Ryan Williams/WGCN
April Zicopoulos works on her outside hitting during a recent Lady Vikings practice. Ryan Williams/WGCN
WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Competition is usually a good thing. Whether it's for consumers being able to choose what and where they purchase goods, for health care patients being able to choose what kind of medical care they want for themselves, or for athletes trying to make a team and become the best they can be.
For the first time ever the Williams High School (WHS) girls' volleyball team held tryouts to determine who will be on the varsity and junior varsity squads this upcoming season. From a pool of 29 athletes, coaches Jennifer Carter and Heather Walker narrowed it down to 23 girls. Eight made varsity, 13 made junior varsity, and two players will be used as floaters between both teams.
"I think this is good for Williams because it makes those girls want to get better," said head coach Carter. "They'll want to go out in the summer, go to a camp and get better. We evaluate how well they pass, how well they hit, how well they set, and of course what kind of effort they put forth."
As with the WHS football squad, the sophomore class is one of the largest and produced the most athletes at tryouts. Fortunately, the team only lost two seniors from last year, with four seniors on this year's team. Carter hopes this large sophomore class can not only help this year, but also continue to improve each year and provide steady play and leadership by the time they are seniors.
"Our hitters and one of our middle blockers are upperclassmen so they've had the varsity experience and I think offensively, and defensively, we're really going to do well in hitting and blocking," Carter said. "And [senior] Jordan Pettit will do some really good outside hitting for us."
In addition to their experience and play up at the net, Carter said the Lady Vikes have a very strong serving team overall and feels this can help keep them in most games even if other facets of their play happen to be struggling.
"A lot of our goals as a team is to mainly do better than last year," said Carter. "And most of these girls have already set goals for themselves, both individually and as a team."
As a collective unit, one of Carter's goals is to make it to state. She knows the difficult conference they are in, playing teams from schools with significantly larger enrollment, but as daunting as a task as it may be to make the postseason, Carter strives to have a successful season and see her players truly enjoy the game she loves so much.
As Carter enters her seventh year as head coach she stressed how much she is looking forward to coaching this year and hopes for the absolute best for her team, as well as expecting the best out of her team.
"I think that we'll have a good showing this year, I think that we'll do a really good job," she said.
The Lady Vikes' first match of the season is at Chino Valley on Aug. 28, varsity plays at 6 p.m. preceded by junior varsity at 5 p.m. Their first home game is Sept. 6 against Greyhills Academy.