Columbia High will need a total team effort if it wants to make an impact in the Trico Division in 2007, according to its second-year head coach.
"All the returning players know that each player must make an impact when they are in the game," Bruins Coach Kevin Liddiard said. "A great hit from our middle or outside doesn't come without a good pass and a great set. Everyone must do their role to have the team make an impact in the Trico Division."
Columbia hasn't made much of an impact in league play since 2002--the last time it qualified a team for a Southwest District tournament.
The Bruins hope to turn things around in 2007 with a lineup that will feature five returning starters and two of its top reserves from 2006.
The returning starters are seniors Katherine Mosbrucker (middle), Ericka Ziegler (middle), Chrissy Duniphin (outside hitter) and juniors Kristie Morris (outside hitter) and Mary Jo Kettenring (setter). Vying for the other starting spot are letterwinners Ilima Caldwell (sr., setter) and Robin Swanhuyser (sr., outside), and varsity newcomer Adrianne DeLay, a sophomore.
Liddiard said the team's strength lies in its large number of returning players--a situation that has created competition for spots in the starting six.
"I have three experienced outsides and middles, and three good setters," he said. "I can only play two in each position, so the players know they need to perform for that starting spot."
Points of emphasis for the Bruins this season will be building teamwork and skills, and cutting down on the unforced errors that give points to the opposing team.
"We need to pass and serve well, and we need to minimize our errors and make the other teams pay when they make mistakes," Liddiard said. "We also need to pass and receive serve well."
If it can do those things, and do them consistently well, Liddiard said, Columbia will be more competitive in this season's Trico Division battle for district playoff berths.
"Castle Rock, Kalama and Stevenson have outstanding programs and are always tough. La Center and Rochester looked solid last season, and Ilwaco is improving," Liddiard noted. "We should be better than last year as well. Those last district spots should be quite a fight."
Columbia opens the 2007 season next Monday with a non-league match at Trout Lake/Glenwood. The Bruins start league play next Thursday, traveling to Ilwaco to take on the Fishermen.