Colby Hornets bring firepower, experience
If you’ll pardon the pun, there’s a buzz of excitement surrounding Colby Hornets volleyball. And first year head coach Nathan Larsen is not shy about his expectations.
“I took the varsity girls outside, and right off the bat I told them our goal is conference champion,” Larsen said.
“There’s some tough competition, you know Gilman is there and Greenwood and Columbus, but based on how we played some of the teams last year, I know we can play better. So far they are showing it. So yeah, conference is definitely our goal this year.”
Those aren’t just high hopes. Colby brings back almost the entire varsity squad from a year ago, only now much more seasoned. The Hornets also boast a tall and more powerful trio up at the net.
Seniors Emma Peavey, Lexi Underwood and Olivia Vollrath are all expected to dictate and score points up front.
“That trio right there, I’m going to really lean on them. They’re all athletic and that allows us to run some stunt plays, trick plays, cause the defense to question where they are at all times on the court.”
Larsen is in his first year, but he’s no stranger to the team having helped coach for the past six years.
“This is my sixth year coaching, so all the girls I have on the varsity team I had on the C-team, again on JV, and now I have them on varsity,” Larsen says about taking the reigns of the program.
“As I’ve grown up as a coach, they’ve also grown up. It’s been really great to step in and they know what I expect and it’s been a pretty seamless transition so far.”
He intends to keep some of the things the same from Brooke Bruesewitz’s tenure, but he intends to add his own spin on things, and it starts with speed and aggression.
“The biggest thing is I want to play faster,” Larsen says. “Run more quicks out of the middle, run more shoots to the outside and keep moving things forward. We had a tendency to sit back and let the ball come to us. I want to change that mindset and to be the aggressive.”
Now that many of this year’s juniors and seniors have played a year or two together the Hornets are more at ease on the court, and bring much more team chemistry to matches.
“We’ve got nine seniors on the varsity squad and six of those are returning varsity. They’re more mature, more comfortable out there and I think they just seem to be a lot more relaxed.”
Larsen is also keeping a careful eye towards the future, promoting sophomore Hayden Willner to varsity, along with juniors Kya Viegut and Brett Schmidt, but he’s certainly taking what he’s got and using it to its full extent.
That’s also means taking advantage of whatever season COVID-19 will let Colby have.
“The girls are having fun again. We’re getting a weird opportunity here with COVID, but we’re all getting a chance to play volleyball.”