Blaine volleyball coach Sheli Moore is full of optimism as she begins her second season at the helm.
“I’m really excited about this year’s volleyball season,” said Moore via email, “we are setting our goals high, and I’m looking forward to watching the young ladies achieve them.”
If Moore’s optimism is well founded, then Borderite fans may be seeing Blaine in the post-season. In Moore’s first season as coach, the Borderites improved to 7-8 and a spot in the play-in game before losing to Granite Falls. Moore spent a year coaching in middle school and then coached the high school “C” team for three seasons before accepting the varsity position last year.
The transition into this season will be made easier with only three seniors being lost to graduation. Top returnees this season are Libby Moore, Hunter Ives, Payton Steinbach, Michelle Johnson and Yvonne Alvarez.
Still, success in the Northwest conference is often measured in the postseason, where three teams emerged from the district tournament to win spots in the state tournament last year.
Anacortes finished fifth last year and was joined by Lynden and established power Burlington-Edison who spent a good part of the season last year being ranked number one in the 2A. Moore chooses not to pick a favorite.
“It can be hard to pick who will be best,” Moore said. “We would like to finish among the best this year.”
With turnouts beginning for all fall sports except football on August 23, Moore realizes that fundamentals will be addressed from the beginning.
“Just about all teams struggle with serve receive,” Moore said. “It’s something that will be a focus during turnouts.”
The Borderites have added some incentives for youth volleyball players this year. Players wearing their youth league or youth camp T-shirts to home games will receive free cookies.
There will also be a serving contest between the second and third sets of home games. If the contestant serves and hits a volleyball T-shirt on the opposite side with a serve, they win it.
Momentum from last season has set a higher standard for the Borderites. “This team is loaded with young ladies that are willing to work hard,” Moore noted, “to put in the time and do what it takes to get better. They want to start a winning tradition in volleyball.”