Blaine volleyball team leans on experienced seniors

Blaine senior Alexis Hallberg goes for a spike in practice on Thursday, August 31. Photo by Oliver Lazenby.

By Oliver Lazenby

A talented group is competing to fill the few gaps left on Blaine’s varsity volleyball squad, which has a lot of returning starters.

Last year’s Borderites lost in the first round of post-season play, and head coach Bryan Clausen expects they’ll go further this year.

“We have a very strong and athletic lineup,” he said. “The communication is there; they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They mesh and they play much better together.”

Clausen said getting most of last year’s team back is a godsend, because the team already knows most of the drills and has come together quickly.

The team still has a crew of veterans, including outside hitters Josie Deming and Alexis Hallberg, who are both four-year varsity starters.

“I think we’re definitely going to go further than just getting to post-season,” Hallberg said. “We’ve been putting in a lot more work and have stronger hitters and our defense is quicker.”

Even with talent and experience, success for the Borderites could depend on communication between players, especially between its setter and hitters. Clausen had yet to choose a starting setter the week before competition kicked off, although he said competition for the spot was tight. Two potential starting setters were getting equal playing time to see who had better chemistry with the rest of the team, Clausen said.

On and off the court, the team’s veterans feel their close relationship is key. “We’ve all been good friends since we were little, and just growing as a team has made us that much closer and that much stronger,” said junior Brynn Hallberg. “We like to think of ourselves not as a team
but as a family.”

Another hole left from last year’s lineup is the libero, a specialty defense position. Sophomore Cassidy Condos, who plays year-round, will start the season as libero, Clausen said.

The Borderites won all three games at the Meridian High School jamboree on  September 5. The team’s regular season starts on Tuesday, September 12 at Sedro-Woolley. The team’s first home game is 7:15 p.m., Wednesday, September 20 against Anacortes.

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