Volleyball leaders vocal throughout season


Maddie Coon

Shania Johnson (left) and Abby Kokot (right) pose for a picture after Juniors take the win against Seniors during Iron Man

Playing volleyball since 7th grade, and going into my senior year, one of the biggest roles of volleyball must be the leaders or “MVPs”. It can be very hard and almost impossible to find a leader but players like Shania Johnson and Denie Hampson show that leaders seem to stand out from the beginning.

A leader on the volleyball team to Hampson, is “…always having a good attitude, believing in everyone on the team, and one who always strives to be better.” Johnson focuses more on the personal aspect of it. “Someone who doesn’t freak out and stays mellow and calm, but always pushes themselves to their highest abilities”.

One of the first people that I talked to for this subject was new assistant coach, Brenda Speake. She recently moved to Livingston this summer and has a daughter Terran Speake who is a sophomore and on the volleyball team. When talking to Brenda, she was more than happy to explain the ups and downs our team has had this season. “I feel as if the team is working out their bugs, as far as personality and trust goes”. One of our newest steps we took was choosing captains, which is an example of a leader, in the end of September. Another comment she made was, “When having a captain, the team knows how to play next to specific people who tell them what to do.” Abby Kokot was chosen by the girls to be one of the captains this year. Kokot is known for not only her play, but for her steady and stable personality. “When asked to choose a captain, I think hands down 95 percent of the people chose Abby as either the first or the second person” explains Speake. Kokot is a junior this year and a three-sport athlete. “She always has a good attitude and believes in every individual on the team. She never lets herself get down, while also lifting our team spirit up on the court” Hampson says.

The other captain chosen this year was senior, Hampson. I have played with her not only from Freshman year, but also got the chance to play club volleyball with her going into my sophomore year. “Denie is an encourager. She puts everyone else before herself. Her attitude is always higher and rarely gets low.” replies Johnson.

This season, Speake says “Our middles have picked up their game. About a month ago, we started focusing on our middles and giving them as many sets as possible, and that offensive strategy seems to be working for us.” Our middles for varsity are Kokot and Ryleah Floyd. During the varsity’s game against Dillon, Kokot had 12 kills and Floyd had 16. “This was by far my best game.” Floyd claims. In the beginning of the season, the back-row players tended to hesitate to go for a ball, which affected the rest of the team. During practice, we started doing more disciplinary-type drills to push ourselves and show what we can really accomplish. Coach Speake is all about drills for mentality and has brought many back from her old team she coached. Shania states “I don’t think the running helps us, but I think doing drills where if we don’t get to that certain goal and then being punished helps us look at the goal as being more important for game-like situations”. Hampson based her thoughts off “we are on an uphill climb and have been working insanely hard in practice to continue making ourselves better. We are pushing for the most important part of it all.”

The volleyball team will head out to Glendive on October 31 through November 3 for divisionals. Depending on how we do there decides whether we go to state held in Bozeman.