POULSBO — Before the first volleyball practice of the season got underway Monday morning, Vikings volleyball coach Tim French had every player in attendance stake claim to a spot in a gigantic circle so everyone was in clear sight of each other. One by one each individual said their name, year in school and position in front of their peers.
Communication and team chemistry will play a pivotal role during the season.
“This year, everyone is happy to be around each other,” said senior Sara Jo Barrett. “We’re together on the court and outside of volleyball, too. It’s going to help us a lot this year. We’re a team that talks and communicates with each other well. I am excited to see so many players come out for the team.”
Fellow senior Cristina Rose concurred, noting, “As a team we have a passion for the sport. We work together as a team and we really want to win.”
French is thrilled the season is finally underway.
“It always feels good to get out here on the first day,” he said. “We have a pretty good turnout.”
In addition, French is excited about the acquisition of a new coach to the Vikings volleyball program.
“This year we have added Tara Curtis to our staff. She will be the JV coach,” he said. “She was a standout player for North Kitsap High School and is a 2002 graduate of NKHS.”
The Vikings are looking to improve after turning in a memorable season in 2006, French said.
“Last year, we made it to the West Central District Tournament for the first time in six years,” he said. “It’s a big challenge but our goal is to get back there again this year. Once you get to that level of play anything can happen.”
French said he expects seniors Amy Cox, Jessica Ouellet, Barrett and Rose to shoulder the leadership responsibilities this season.
“As a team we’re looking for that senior leadership. I expect this group of girls to do a good job in that area,” he said. “I am looking forward to seeing them step up and be leaders. They all have different personalities and have a mix of leadership styles that will benefit us this year.”
Rose thinks the Vikings will advance deep into the postseason in November.
“We want to go farther than we did last year,” she said. “We are an aggressive team and we play hard. We’re going to be a team that goes out there and fights hard all the time.”
Taking on a leadership role is something Rose embraces, she said.
“Everybody looks up to you,” she said. “It’s a big new step, and is something I am enjoying.”
Barrett said the Vikings are a squad that responds well to adversity in matches.
“After we get down we have a good ability to pick it right back up again,” she said. “We respond well to those type of situations. We are always able to get the digs and the points we need.”