The Lady Warriors broke the huddle on “Cheese fries with ranch” recently at the end of a volleyball practice.
“It surprised me the first time,” first-year head coach Sheena Gann said, “but they break on other food and random sayings too, like ‘Bunnies in space.’”
Over the summer and preliminary muscle-straining two-a-day practices, Gann said, quirky little breaks like these have helped bond her team.
“The team’s attitude is extremely positive this year,” she said. “They’re learning to trust each other and pick each other up when they’re tired.”
With one senior, five juniors, one sophomore, and six freshmen, she said her team is composed of “a couple workhorses, several positive energy girls, and some goofballs who kind of complain about being tired but make everybody laugh when they need it.”
Longtime setter Katy Benson is the only senior. Though not very vocal on the court, Gann said, Benson is a “quiet leader” who leads by example rather than with words.
“Katy is one of my hardest workers,” Gann said. “She spent all summer in the weight room. She has always been a great setter, but this year she has been hitting the ball so well that she is going to be one of my main hitters.”
The team played in Hillsboro’s summer volleyball league, trained using body weight resistance drills, attended volleyball camp in July, and played sand volleyball when they could find no other net.
“They needed to get stronger all over,” Gann said. “I can’t even begin to count how many push-up and burpees they did.”
Some players also traveled with Gann to Manhattan to watch Kansas State University’s division-one volleyball girls practice.
“It really pumped them up,” Gann said. “They were like ‘Oh my God.’”
She said her team is scrappy and has the ability to be good this year.
“I heard that in order to get something you’ve never had before you have to do something you’ve never done before,” she said. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Gann wants to strengthen the volleyball program and get the Lady Warriors to believe in themselves, and if that means “cheese fries with ranch” and “bunnies in space,” then so be it.
“We put so much time in together this team is like our second family,” Gann said, “Sometimes they break on ‘family.’”