The Blaine girls volleyball team has shown much improvement this season, although their record might not show it.
With a 2–7 record in the Northwest Conference, the Borderites are near the bottom of the ranks when it comes to local 2A rivals, a rank that is consistent with Blaine’s status as the smallest school in 2A. The team has a smaller talent pool to draw from and, unlike many larger schools, Blaine doesn’t have a youth league for elementary school-age girls to learn volleyball skills.
However, according to head coach Bryan Clausen, the program has steadily improved over the last few years, and this season is no exception.
“We’re passing the ball much better. We have better ball control, harder hitting and the girls are being more aggressive on offense,” Clausen said.
Many of the losses this season have been by just a few points. Last week against undefeated county power Lynden Christian, the Borderites fell 25–19, 25–17, 25–18. The Lyncs are anchored by outside hitter Kara Bajema, who is a 6’2″ Division I college prospect.
On October 20, Blaine traveled to Anacortes and lost 3–1. The Seahawks are 7–2 in NWC games and 8–3 overall.
Clausen said several players on the team are hitting their stride. Josie Deming, a middle blocker and setter, has played a big role on defense this season, and continues to perform. Outside hitters Krimson Rector and Alexis Halberg have shown strong improvement. And Dacia Blanco, another outside hitter, is a key player on defense and offense.
“She’s probably the most consistent player in all phases – passing, hitting, serving and defense,” Clausen said.
Despite losses to strong teams such as Bellingham, Lynden and Sehome, the Borderites have earned upsets against Sedro-Woolley and Mount Baker. Most importantly, they are having fun.
“The girls are having a lot of fun and improving throughout the season. There’s a strong bond between the girls,” Clausen said.
The main goal at this point in the season is to continue to improve, especially when it comes to communication.
“Communication is so key. It has to become second nature, because if you have to think about it it’s too late,” Clausen said.
Blaine’s next game is at home against Nooksack Valley on Thursday, October 23. The NWC game begins at 7 p.m.