Prep Volleyball: Casey veterans adjusting to new roles, still aiming high
Kaitlyn Todd (28) of Casey County sends the ball past Burgin's Emilee Hurt (22) during a match last week. Todd has played significantly for Casey teams that have won consecutive district championships, and she is one of four seniors who will try to lead the Rebels to their third championship in a row this season. (Mike Marsee / August 15, 2012)
Some of the seniors who have risen into roles of leadership this season say the standards are still high, the players are still close and the team is still strong.
In fact, they say this year’s Casey squad seems less like a retooled team and more like an extension of last season’s team.
“I like how we’re all together, like, in one big family,” outside hitter Jami Luttrell said. “If something happens in our family, we’re all there for each other to back each other up — always.”
The girls are there for each other, but not necessarily in the same places they were last year. Changes in the lineup have left even veteran players in need of some time to adjust.
“We’re adjusting to new positions,” middle blocker Kaitlyn Todd said.
Todd and Luttrell, two of the team’s four seniors, are in their third year as part of the varsity playing rotation, and both find themselves in new roles this summer.
Luttrell has moved from a middle blocker spot to become the outside hitter on the weak side.
“I feel like I can hit better where I’m at now than I could at middle. I have more range to hit now; in the middle I didn’t have variety,” she said.
Todd played primarily on the outside last year but finds herself in the middle this season.
“I like hitting, and I used to play middle, but it’s just going to take some getting used to. But when you get a good block, it’s pretty awesome,” she said.
Assistant coach Angie McQueary said there are still some wrinkles to work out with the new lineup, but she said she thinks it may have made the Rebels stronger in at least one area.
“The only difference I can see between last year and this year is this year this group is moving better. Last year we didn’t move on the court as good,” McQueary said. “We’ve got a good lineup.”
The girls said they can see the same difference.
“Last year we didn’t pass well. We didn’t move well, either. This year we’re moving better, talking better,” Luttrell said.
Luttrell said she thinks Casey is strongest at the net.
“We have really good hitters. Instead of two, we have three hitters this year,” she said. “And we have pretty good diggers, too. We have two or three good diggers.”
Casey has had winning seasons in each of its first two years under coach Veronica Sengkhamyong, and the Rebels are expecting to do at least as well this year as last year, when they won the 45th District and reached the 12th Region semifinals, both for the second straight year.
“We’re going to have a good team this year. We’re hoping for a three-peat on district,” Todd said.
And that’s not the end of their wish list.
“I’d like to win region. That’s my goal, at least to go to state,” Luttrell said. “Go big or go home, right?”