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home : sports & recreation : sports & recreation July 21, 2017

8/27/2013 1:28:00 PM
Outlaws volleyball has sights on league title
By Rongi Yost

The Lady Outlaws volleyball team returns just five seasoned players, but they bring to the floor a very athletic and enthusiastic squad.

Seniors Savannah Spear and Katelyn Meeter return for their final season. Spear will play at libero and defensive specialist for the Outlaws and will provide much needed leadership to the young team. Savannah digs and passes the ball well and improved her skills over the past season as she played for Rimrock, the top 18-and-under team who boasts all the top players in the area. Coach Miki McFadden told The Nugget that she hopes to get leadership from Meeter at the setter position.

Nila Luken (junior) earned second-team all-league honors last season and will lead the Outlaws' offense in the middle. Nila has an amazing vertical jump of 30 inches, which allows her to get high above her opponents. She can tip the ball and has a variety of shots.

"At practice, she (Lukens) doesn't come down," said McFadden. "The girls have to wait for her. This year I need her to take more leadership on offense. She needs to be more verbal, call for the ball and take charge at the net. She's got a great attitude and is a good team player."

Two sophomores, Allie Spear and Isabel Tara, round out the returning players. Allie is a very versatile player and plays strong all the way around. She's an outside hitter, passes well, plays good defense and serves tough.

"I'm going to rely on her (Allie) in a lot of areas in the game," said McFadden. "She's a very fiery player."

Tara also plays at outside hitter and according to McFadden hits with the most power of anybody out there.

McFadden said, "Isabel will be a go-to hitter for us this year. She hits the ball so hard. She's a powerful and effective hitter."

Seven new players will join the team, including juniors, Haylie Hudson, Brenna Weems and Jesse Farr-Baenziger. Hudson is a good all-around utility player who is just coming off two ACL surgeries. Weems, at 5-feet-10-inches, will add to the Outlaws' net play both at the block and hitting. Farr-Baenziger will play defensive specialist, and her job will be to dig and pass the ball.

Sophomore Peytan Zanck, at 5-feet-10-inchesm will provide strong play at the net. Three freshmen, Brooke Knirk, Alex Hartford and Annika Stadeli, will round out the 2013-2014 squad. Knirk is a strong offensive player and will play at middle hitter. Hartford will play at setter and McFadden told The Nugget that Alex puts up a very nice set. Stadeli is a defensive specialist who plays great defense and is a tough server.

The Outlaws have their sights set on the league title and hope to go deep into the state playoffs.

"We are really going to have to work on leadership," said McFadden. "We lost (graduate) Shannon Fouts, who was our team leader last year. We are going to have to rediscover ourselves. On the plus side, the girls have great energy on the court and they support each other well. We're off to a great start."

The young Outlaws hope to rise to the occasion in competition and will focus hard to play together and as a solid unit.

Sisters will play at a jamboree held at Summit on Friday, August 30. The Outlaws' first league game will be Wednesday, September 4, at Madras where Sisters will play in tough matches against Madras and Crook County. The team will travel to Stayton on Saturday, September 7, and will participate in the Cascade Invitational.

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