Kapaun wants to clear hurdles to 5A volleyball title
Kapaun Mount Carmel coach Terri Hessman isn’t one to mince words with her volleyball team. Never has been.
So her blunt questions to her team at a May team meeting weren’t unexpected.
“We talked about what they want to achieve this season, but also, what are you willing to give?” Hessman said. “We all really, really want to be on the court all the time, but what are you willing to give to get the goals we’re trying to reach?”
And their response?
“ (They said,) ‘Whatever you want, coach. Whatever you want us to do,’” Hessman said.
Kapaun wants a Class 5A title.
A championship won’t come easy, especially if defending champion St. James remains in 5A. Even if St. James drops back down to 4A when classifications are announced in late September, there’s still Bishop Miege, which beat Kapaun twice at the 5A tournament, including in the third-place match.
Hessman took some necessary steps to ready the Crusaders, who are ranked fourth in Class 5A, by significantly increasing the difficulty of their schedule. Their first dual on Tuesday is at Washburn Rural, the two-time defending 6A champ which has won seven titles since 2004.
Kapaun will also play a triangular against Shawnee Heights and St. James, and play in the Maize tournament, which includes Miege. St. James, Shawnee Heights and Miege are ranked Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in 5A.
“If your competition isn’t as tough as others, I think it’s easy to just go through the motions and win those games because you don’t try as hard,” said senior hitter Sydney Kuhn, who has made an oral commitment to Notre Dame. “I would rather play tough teams and play well and lose, than play easy teams and win without trying.”
Hessman kept nine seniors, four more than her previous high. When asked why, she smiled and shrugged.
“They deserve it,” she said. “They are the full package.”
Along with experience, Kapaun is loaded with talent. It starts with Kuhn, an All-Metro selection, who is a magnificent hitter (385 kills in 2012) but also one of the Crusaders’ top passers (413 digs).
“Sydney is amazingly quick,” Hessman said. “We can give quicks to her anywhere on the net and she’ll be successful.”
Senior Audrey Grant, who has made an oral commitment to play at Tulsa, is a powerful hitter and was also an All-Metro selection with a team-high 413 kills. Senior Gabby Torline, who can find the holes in the defense, rounds out a threesome of formidable hitters.
“Oh my gosh, it’s great,” senior Austyn Ames said of setting Kapaun’s hitters. “(Wesley Crowdus and I) can basically set up anything, and they’ll get a kill. They make us look really good. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be anywhere.”
Kapaun is taking steps to improve its blocking, and that’s where Liz Dwyer and Molly Kush come in.
But the biggest concern is passing. Without strong passing, Kapaun’s hitters can’t showcase their powerful hits.
“It’s an area we can improve on,” Grant said. “We all have the potential to be great passers.”
If Kapaun can improve its passing come mid-October, watch out.
“We can’t ever lose sight of what we’re trying to accomplish,” Ames said. “It’s going to take a lot of work, but we’re willing to do the work we need to do to get there.”
And that’s what Hessman is counting on.
OTHER CITY LEAGUE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Carroll: Haley Northcutt, sr.; Jessi Haffner, sr.; Taylor Bevis, jr.; Kelsey Schippers, jr.; Molly Dugan, jr.
East: Andrea Navarro, sr.; Rachael Jordan, jr.; Allegra Carson, jr.
Heights: Rianne Richard, jr.; Marissa Orloske, sr.
North: Emeli Bryant, sr.; Angelita Rodriguez-Gallegos, sr.; Chesney Vaughn, sr.; Aliyah Bernard, jr.; Zoe Childs, jr.; Anna Dahlinger, jr.; Stephanie Nutt, jr.
Northwest: Aliya Higginbotham, sr.
South: Jordan Edelman, sr.; Madison Northcutt, sr.; Ericka Mattingly, so.; Kendrian Elliott, so.
Southeast: Aleah Chin, jr.; Kaylie Ines, sr.; Kylie Fox, jr.; Gaby Maida, sr.
West: Angel Murray, jr.; Aspen Halcarz, jr.; Micala Klein, jr.; Iesha Ross, jr.