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New head coach for Women of Troy VB

IOWA CITY– Scott Sanders has seen a lot from the “right chair” over eight years as an assistant coach for the Iowa City West High Women of Troy varsity volleyball team. He worked alongside legendary coach Kathy Bresnahan through State Tournament campaigns and Championships, and during the dark days following the death of Caroline Found. After “Brez” retired from coaching, Sanders worked with Randy Dolson. More trips to state ensued.
Now Dolson has gone to lead Liberty High’s program and Sanders finds himself in the lead role at West High. He won’t have Aubrey Sowers, Carson Miller, Madi Ford, Emma Norris, Gabi Delsing, Ali Tauchen, Emily Halverson, Gabby Klemme or Maddie Fay to call on as they’ve graduated.
“Last year’s senior class took a lot of depth and experience with them,” Sanders said. “This team will have some learning to do early on, but once they get over the pressure and pace, we will be in good shape.”
Stepping up will be returning starters Colby Greene and Keimoney Lang, both seniors. “Colby had success in the middle last year,” Sanders said, “And she will continue to grow in that position, and could make an impact in other positions as well.”
Greene is a middle hitter who earned All-Conference Second Team honors last year with 218 kills (averaging 2.18 per set) and 57 blocks (.56/set). Lang is in as libero and had 45 digs in the 2016 effort.
Also back are seniors Emily Burtch (middle hitter, outside hitter), Maddie Laffey (middle hitter, outside hitter), Khushi Kapoor (defensive specialist) and Liz Walters (defensive specialist). Burtch made 11 blocks and 42 kills last year. Juniors Cailyn Morgan (setter) and Claire Overton (middle hitter, outside hitter) are also back in the Women of Troy’s line up along with sophomore Rylee Fay (setter).
“We will have a new setter in Rylee Fay that is replacing her sister Maddie as the starting setter, and has a lot of experience in the club ranks,” Sanders said.
Two juniors have joined the squad; Laurel Kelley and Grace Miller.
“Laurel had a big impact on the success of our undefeated sophomore team, and that will translate well to the varsity court,” he said.
Miller, Sanders said, is “very athletic and will bring depth to both pin hitting positions.”
Overall Sanders said this year’s team “has a ton of flexibility, which is a good problem to have early in the season.”
Last season The Women of Troy put up a 23-15 overall record and went 4-2 in Mississippi Valley Conference (MVC) conference play, good for third in the Mississippi Division. West High made it to the State Tournament, but fell 3-1 to Ankeny Centennial in the Quarterfinals. Sanders knows his team is in for another challenging season.
“The MVC is always a tough conference,” Sanders said, “It gets teams ready for the post season. I think that Linn-Mar would be the early favorite on our side (of the state), but there are a few teams that will be in the mix vying for the title at the end.”
Sanders not only has a new position, but also new assistants.
“With the exception of myself and one ninth-grade coach, we will have a new coaching staff, and four of them played at West,” he said. “The team is mostly made of new-to-varsity faces, which is good and bad. Good because they will not be known quantities in the beginning of the season, and bad because they don’t have a ton of experience at this level.”
The season opens on Tuesday, Aug. 22, at home against Cedar Rapids Prairie.