Just a few months removed from a season that limited games and postseason on the high school level and wiped out middle school play, Sequim High volleyball coach Jennie Webber Heilman said she wasn’t sure what to expect this fall.
“We were worried about numbers,” she said last week. “(But) they kept showing up. Where were they this summer when we were having open gym?”
Rather than facing a roster shortage like several other SHS fall programs, Wolves’ volleyball saw 35 girls turn out for spots on varsity, junior varsity and C-teams.
The 2020-21 Wolves ran up a 10-3 mark and, despite losing a number of key players to graduation, return a number of players with ample varsity experience.
“We have a good core of seven who played (varsity),” Webber Heilman said. “But we’re trying to figure out some positions.”
Back is junior Kendall Hastings, who led the team in kills (163) and blocks (29) on the way to earning first team all-Olympic League honors.
Also back is do-it-all sophomore Jolene Vaara, who last season played middle outside hitter, opposite side and setter — everything except libero (defensive specialist).
“For a young player, that’s pretty amazing,” Webber Heilman said.
Vaara had 45 kills and eight blocks as a freshman.
Also back are seniors Allie Gale, Jordan Hegtvedt and Mallory Morey. Gale had a team-high 107 digs and fourth-best 25 aces while Hegtvedt added 85 digs and a 94.5 percent serve percentage, third-best on the squad. Morey chipped in 13 assists (second on the team), 22 kills and six blocks.
Webber Heilman said she’s still looking for the best spot for Gale, whom the SHS coach notes “she’s pretty competitive; she wants to win.”
Sequim has some tough servers in the lineup, Webber Heilman noted, in particular Gale, Morey and Hastings.
The Wolves look to replace a number of key players lost to graduation, notably four-year starter Kalli Wiker and Amanda Weller, both first team all-league selections, along with all-league second teamers Jessica Asselin, McKenna Hastings and Jayla Julmist.
To that end, Webber Heilman said, Sequim will look to returners Lyndsay Swanson and Kelsey Bergeson , and newcomers Jordan Kidd and Nichole Tiemeyer.
“We will probably will have some swing players (from JV to varsity),” Webber Heilman said.
As for the rest of the program — and the multitude of incoming new players — the Wolves have JV coach Rachel Oden and former player Brittany Gale to oversee the C-team.
“These middle school kids have not played at all because of COVID except for three weeks in the spring,” Webber Heilman said.
Sequim’s only losses last season were to Kingston (twice) and North Kitsap, and culminated with a win over 3A Central Kitsap.
“That was like a state tournament for them,” Webber Heilman said. “It’s nice to have some of those girls here (returning from that team).”
A difference in this season’s schedule are tournaments: The Wolves travel to Longview for the Mark Morris tournament on Sept. 25 and to Olympia for the Capital City Tournament on Oct. 9.
“It’s critical, just to play against tougher teams,” Webber Heilman said of the tourneys.
But because the team is unable to stay overnight, that means early-morning bus trips, the Sequim coach said.
What remains from last season is a mask requirement for players, Webber Heilman noted.
“We’re jut going to do the best we can.”