Pack’s ready to attack
It’s been a while since the members of the Washington volleyball program have had a reason to smile but with eight players returning from last year’s team, along with coach Kelly Slade coming back for her second year, the Pam Pack has plenty of reasons to be excited for the upcoming season.
In 2011, Slade took over a struggling Washington team that had won only one game the year before and guided it to a five-win season. This season, Slade and the Pam Pack spikers have their sights set on much bigger accomplishments.
“Our goal this year is that we want to make the state playoffs and to have a winning record,” Slade said. “I think that both of those things are obtainable and I think with our team, even though we are young, that we can make the state playoffs this year and be successful.”
The Pam Pack features two seniors in Justyce McKissick and Lacie Anglim, but have plenty of girls that Slade can rely on to provide leadership.
“Lacie Anglim is our starting setter and she is a very strong leader on the court and off the court. She does a great job, she’s like the quarterback of our team,” Slade said. “Then we have really strong hitters like Justyce McKissick who is also a senior; Megan Corey is a really powerful middle hitter and also Adriana Tyson is a real strong hitter.”
Slade said the strength of this year’s team is that they play as a cohesive unit.
“I think that they do a great job working together,” Slade said. “They play well as a team. Individually, we have a lot of skills and it’s my job to maximize all those.”
On Thursday morning the Pam Pack players ran through drills like clockwork at practice, a far cry from last year’s sessions as Slade was hired late in the preseason and had only three team practices before her first game.
Slade said having an entire preseason to work with her team has been very beneficial.
“The summer has been great, we’ve been doing conditioning at least two days a week and the players have rotated in and out with things they have been doing like volleyball camp and what not,” Slade said. “It’s been really exciting to have summer conditioning this year.”
The team’s practice time has also been more entailed this summer as most of the players are already familiar with the coach and her playbook.
“The biggest difference between last year and this year is that our system is already in place,” Slade said. “The girls already know what the expectations are and they know how the practices are run. They could run the practice themselves if they needed to. It’s just really good to have some of that groundwork already laid out.”
The Pam Pack will get to see just how much their solid preseason has paid off on Monday when they open up their season on the road at Riverside at 6 p.m.