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VOLLEYBALL PREVIEW: Beamer and Federal Way ready to make some noise
There’s only one way to go for the four volleyball programs in Federal Way — up.
Beamer, Jefferson, Federal Way and Decatur combined last season to win just two matches during their respective South Puget Sound League schedules.
Recently, volleyball wins have been few and far between at the Federal Way high schools. During the past four seasons, the programs have combined to win a grand total of 13 SPSL matches, which averages to just under one win a season for each team.
But this very well could be the year that one of the district teams breaks through.
Both Beamer and Federal Way have started the season in very impressive fashion. Beamer is 4-1 and Federal Way is 5-0 in non-league contests. Both teams kicked off their SPSL division play Thursday.
The Titans look to be the best of the bunch and feature one of the top players in the area. Senior Megan Huff, a 6-foot-2 outside hitter, has garnered the interest from several Division-I volleyball programs around the country. Places like Oregon State, Portland State, Hawaii, New Mexico, Boise State, among others, are taking a long, hard look at Huff, who is also one of the better basketball players in the state.
Huff proved herself on the volleyball court during the summer when her 17-under Puget Sound Volleyball Academy team won the gold medal at the Girls Junior National Volleyball Championships in the 17-under Patriot Division.
Last season, Huff finished with 217 kills, 125 digs for the Titans, who finished 7-9 overall on the year.
Also providing a huge presence for Beamer will be Aliya Ranis, who was injured for 80-percent of the season last year. Ranis and her KJ Volleyball Club finished second at the Junior National Volleyball Championships in the Patriot bracket.
“She is coming back healthy and looking strong,” Taitano said.
Taitano also brings back sophomore Camryn Skari and is getting early contributions from newcomers Reed Copeland, McKenna Milholland, Nia Alexander and Jordan Willingham. Taitano describes the 2013 Titans as “athletic kids with good chemistry and a positive attitude.”
“We will be competitive,” Taitano said. “We hope to finish in the top half of the SPSL. Playing together and being focused on improving will help make this team be successful. Worrying too much about making mistakes, playing tentative and bogging our players down with unrealistic expectations for the team will hurt our development as a program.”
Federal Way and head coach Donja Walker is attempting to build the Eagles’ program and doing a pretty good job. Federal Way and Walker ended a 62-match, six-year long losing streak two seasons ago in the SPSL.
But since that win over Bethel in 2010, the Eagles haven’t won an SPSL South match since. This might be the year things change in league play.
“I think we are going to turn a lot of heads,” Walker said. “We have been working on playing consistent.”
Federal Way returns seniors Vai Ili, Sammy Savini and Brittany Crawford, along with sophomore Aya Bispham. Newcomers Mylee Jefferson and Janilla Augofie should also provide a little more depth for Walker.
“If we continue to play consistent and work on reducing our unforced errors, we will be very competitive,” Walker said. “We have been at the bottom for a while and are looking to get a league win.”
The Thomas Jefferson Raiders are hoping to bounce back after an 0-16 season a year ago.
“We believe we will be better than last year and we are excited for the prospect,” said head coach Amanda Knutson.
The Raiders return senior Ruby Boyzo, juniors Shelby Garman, Michaela Swiney and Vanessa Daniels. Newcomers Zoe Ellermeier, Taylor Sterling and Bella Lowe should also provide some depth.