Spartan duo hopes to spark veteran volleyball squad
August 20, 2013
By Neil Pierson
Coming off a sixth-place finish in 2011 at the Class 4A state volleyball tournament, the Skyline High School Spartans felt 2012 would be a season for them to challenge for a championship.
It didn’t quite work out that way. Skyline had a dominating regular season, and then beat Newport to capture the KingCo Conference tournament title. At state, however, the Spartans got off to a slow start, losing to Union in straight sets. They beat Wenatchee to stay alive for a trophy, but were swept out of the tourney at the hands of Auburn Riverside.
It was an experience that this year’s four seniors — including reigning all-conference selections Crystal Anderson and Molly Mounsey — may use for motivation.
“It was really exciting winning KingCo last year, because that was a big step for us,” said Anderson, a 6-foot-2 outside hitter. “And then we got into the state tournament, and we went pretty far, but I don’t think we met our potential last year. And so this year I’m hoping we work as a team more and we are able to get farther.”
Mounsey, a 6-foot middle blocker, said the Spartans may have suffered some complacency after doing well at state in 2011. That year, they opened with a thrilling five-set win over top-ranked Bellarmine Prep, a squad that went on to win the state title in 2012.
“I think that we learned that we need to have a little more dedication all the time,” Mounsey said. “I think we all expected to do well, and we could’ve pushed a little harder, even though I know we did try a lot.”
With their size and skill around the net, Anderson and Mounsey figure to be huge keys in 2013 as Skyline looks to build upon last year’s 16-5 record.
The pair plays all year with the Kent Juniors Volleyball Club, and they were part of a second-place finish for the under-17 squad at July’s USA Volleyball Junior National Championships in Dallas.
With Kent Juniors, Anderson and Mounsey have honed their all-around games. Both players were once middle blockers, but Anderson moved to outside hitter when she came to Skyline. They have enough versatility to play any position on the court in a pinch.
“We have a lot of girls from Skyline that play for that same club,” Anderson said, “so we all get kind of the same coaching.”
“We get more time practicing setting and passing, which are things we would somewhat do here at school, but not normally, because we only have two or three months here,” Mounsey said. At Skyline, “we focus more on our positional techniques, whereas with club, we have more time and we become better all-around players.”
Both players are coy about their college prospects, but say they’re talking to various schools and have plans to extend their careers past high school.
Although the Spartans lost a standout player — outside hitter Halle Erdahl — to graduation, they may have a deeper lineup in 2013. Anderson and Mounsey were complementary of Katy Valencia and Meghan Wedeking, the team’s two junior setters, and said they believe every player is capable of leading or starring in certain situations.
“We’re all driven to accomplish the best that we can,” Mounsey said. “There’s not one person that’s holding us back, and there’s not one person who’s pushing us more than the rest, because we all know we only have a few months to push ourselves as far as we can go.”
“We are a very physically gifted team,” Anderson said. “We’re talented and athletic, which is good, and our passion helps us.”