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Lady Prospectors taking new coach, focus into 2021 season

“I worked with all of them in off season,” Ward said. “I made sure to have them tell me if I set it wrong and where to put it. I worked with all of them to make sure I’m setting to their best spot.”

PHILIPSBURG – A new coach and a new attitude are what the Granite Lady Prospectors are hoping will propel them into and through the 2021 volleyball season.

It also doesn’t hurt that they return five seniors and four girls that are all power players at the net.

Kaley Hansen has taken over for the retired Jennifer Graham, moving up from the junior varsity ranks to now lead the program.

“It was very daunting,” said Hansen. “I had an experience in high school where a JV coach took over for varsity and so I always have that in the back of my mind, but so far it’s been great.”

In all, Granite has 23 girls out for its varsity and JV squads, giving Hansen and her program a big pool of talent from which to draw and develop.

The five seniors consist of Asha Comings, Reece Pitcher, Rachel Ward, Annabelle Lock and SaDee Lilyquist. The first three were starters in 2020 with Locke and Lilyquist acting in specialist roles.

But volume can come with issues, something Hansen saw a few years earlier.

“Two years ago we had 22 girls and that team was very drama filled,” Hansen recalled. “So team building is the biggest thing. That’s one of my goals for them.”

And it’s sentiment that her players are already picking up on, as exemplified by Comings when asked what she thought a key for this team would be.

“Working together, being a team and being one unit,” she said. “Working hard and developing that discipline.

It starts in practice, making sure we’re all focused and having each other’s back in practice in school and out of school.”

Comings started jumping out of the gym about a third of the way into her junior year. As a senior, she’s planning on keeping that level all of her senior season.

“I worked on my strength and my jumping, getting my footwork better. I worked with Rachel to get that setter-hitter connection.”

Ward said she had worked with all of her hitters to try and develop their timing and ball placement.

“I worked with all of them in offseason,” Ward said. “I made sure to have them tell me if I set it wrong and where to put it. I worked with all of them to make sure I’m setting to their best spot.”

As as the team’s senior setter, she’ll be working with freshman Ella Tallon to make sure their hitters are getting the best possible opportunities.

“I try to know my hitters and depending on what kind of game they’re having. I look for what spots are open on the floor, so if cross court has a weaker player or the middle has a wide open area I’ll look to set them there.”

The Lady Prospectors will open the season the Tip Off Tournament in Drummond Saturday before linking up with their cross county rivals Tuesday in Philipsburg.

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