Klahowya netters fall to Foster

The Klahowya Eagles volleyball team was not expected to do much this season against its Nisqually League foes.

And while the squad finished 5-11 overall (2-10 in league), the Eagles proved that they can hang with anyone, often falling in tight matches against more experienced opponents.

That trend continued as the Eagles fell to Foster 3-1 (14-25, 26-24, 25-9, 25-22) in the regular season finale Tuesday before exiting the Nisqually League tournament with a 3-0 loss to Vashon (25-14, 25-18, 25-22) on Thursday to put the wraps on a season that saw the Eagles improve from 2004’s 1-15 mark.

“The girls played with a lot of emotion and heart.,” first-year coach Kanoe Lilly said. “I know that the results weren’t what was wanted, but I think that we were still successful in some of the goals that I had set for the team and what the players had set for themselves. “

The Eagles, while not extremely young, lacked experience at the start of the season. With several returning players, that experience should be the team’s most valuable asset as it looks to next year.

“This year, our squad is not so young and next year, we will have three seniors and quite a few juniors returning,” Lilly said. “We will be able to use this season as a learning experience. I also expect a few of the players to be participating in club volleyball, so all of this will be a positive influence on our team.”

One of the main goals the Eagles had this season was eliminating the perception around the league that the Eagles were an easy ‘W’ for whomever they played. And while the team still has improvements to make, the process was certainly set in motion this season.

“We had set out to change the way people think about the volleyball team at Klahowya,” Lilly said. “I believe that we accomplished that. We proved to be a legitimate competitor.”

Now in the offseason, Lilly said she wants her team to relax, but keep working on improvements for next season.

“For the offseason, I’d like to see the players having fun.,” she said. “I encourage the players to participate in other competitive sports. That way they can stay in condition and they can challenge themselves mentally and physically. “

Lilly said the most important gains this year came in the team-building department, where the girls had a chemistry absent in previous seasons. She said she hopes that carries over to next year as well.

“I like that there were new friendships formed on the court and I hope that those friendships will last into the next season,” Lilly said. “I know that it’s a cliché, but there is no ‘I’ in team. Especially, in volleyball, where there are six people on the court, working together for the same goal.”

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