Coach Melanie Miller says the South Puget Sound Community College volleyball squad is “teetering the line” of success in its inaugural season.
“I’m confident that they’re going to end in conference strong,” she said. “We’ve played (22) matches, so we’re right at that peaking point.”
The program — created by SPSCC athletic director Nick Schmidt in 2015 after the college decided to scrap the softball program — hosts its first Northwest Athletic Conference divisional match at 7 p.m. Friday. The Clippers play Green River, another team in the NWAC’s Western Division.
Despite a 2-20 record to open the season, Miller said she thinks continued experience will translate into wins.
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“We’re competing with all of the teams,” Miller said. “It’s just the finishing part. I think that comes with playing more. They’re young.”
All 10 players on the Clippers roster are freshman. Three — Madelyn Reeves, Kiley Schwartz and Lydia Soto — are former Olympia High School players. Natalie Patton and Ellie King played at Black Hills, while Jordaan Hall played at Elma.
SPSCC is the second-ranked team (of 28 teams in the NWAC) in three statistical categories — digs, total aces and aces per game.
“We’re doing really good things — it’s just putting it all together,” Miller said. “They have a lot of experience, but don’t have a lot of experience at this level. It’s getting used to that, and getting used to the fact that no team in the NWAC is just going to roll over.”
The Clippers are seeking their first win at home. They’ve won two matches on the road — 3-2 over Olympic on Aug. 30, and 3-2 over Yakima Valley on Sept. 5. They lost their conference opener at Gray’s Harbor on Wednesday.
“I’m really proud of them,” Miller said. “It’s easy to get content with losing and they’re not, they’re still hungry.”
SAINTS MOURN FORMER PLAYER
Saint Martin’s University issued a news release Tuesday following the recovery of former men’s soccer player Austin Kelley’s body in the Salmon River near Riggins, Idaho.
Kelley, an assistant coach at Olympia High School (his alma mater), went missing Sept. 4 during a guys getaway weekend.
“I want to say so much more and I will,” SMU director of soccer Rob Walker said in the release. “For now, may God bless Austin and his family. May all of our broken hearts mend a little with every thought and every prayer. If I had a quarter for every time I ever said, ‘Well done, Austin,’ I’d be a millionaire.”
A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday at Marcus Pavilion at SMU and is open to the public.
SMU’s Shannon Porter was the top local finisher at the Sundodger Invitational in Seattle last weekend. She placed fifth in a 6K field of 284 runners, finishing in 20:56.30. …
SMU won its first Great Northwest Athletic Conference volleyball match of the season by defeating Alaska, 3-2, on Saturday. It was the eighth win for SMU over Alaska since the Saints joined the GNAC in 2001.
Rebecca Mitchell had 17 kills and 10 digs to lead the Saints, while Megan Vernoy added 14 kills.
SMU (5-1, 1-1 GNAC) opens its home conference schedule against Concordia at 7 p.m. Thursday at Marcus Pavilion, and hosts Western Oregon at 7 p.m. Saturday. ...
The SMU men open the 2016 fall season Friday, when they host their two-day golf invitational at Olympia Golf and Country Club. Eighteen teams and 96 players are registered to compete.