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By Andrew Christiansen
Reporter 

High expectations for volleyball in Klickitat

 

Andrew Christiansen

Kyann Kessinger

Klickitat took a big hit with graduation, losing five of their volleyball starters, including two of the league’s premier players and All Opponents team members, Ashley Meeks and Lara Parsons. But, don’t cry for Coach Jaecee Hoctor. What she has for the league this year is likely to be one of the better Vandal teams since Hoctor became coach in 2007.

The Vandals worked their way back to State last year, after sitting out in 2010, a rarity for Klickitat. One look at the line-up for this year and it seems certain they will be contenders again, and given that they have just two seniors, Keandra and KyAnn Kessinger, they could be starting another long run at State.

In addition to the Kessinger girls, the team is built around a pair of juniors, Nicole Oldfield and Kenzie Schlangen. The girls are proven outside hitters, sure to be key to the offense. They will be hitting off sets from KyAnn, the heir apparent to Meeks as the team’s premier setter. Keandra may also fill that role, but she demonstrated during 2012 districts that she can also hit.

Andrew Christiansen

Keandra Kessinger

That left one gaping hole in the middle of the front line with Lara Parsons gone. But that potential weakness suddenly became strength when Trout Lake and Glenwood decided to go separate ways in volleyball and All Opponents team member, Tamaira Huffsmith moved to Glenwood. With no team in Glenwood, Huffsmith is one of three players from Glenwood who are going to play in Klickitat this year. Huffsmith is a proven hitter and blocker who can also score points on serve.

The rest of the line-up will be filled with experienced and new players who all seem to have one thing in common, they can move. Expect this year’s Vandal team to be standouts on defense. They are a fit group who should be able to cover the floor.

Hoctor says she is excited to see the team develop. “The culture of this team is different. I had five girls from eighth grade to graduation. Now it is different.”

“I’m excited,” says Hoctor. That’s understandable, given their history. It looks like the Vandals could be putting together another run for trophies at State.

 

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