ZEPHYR — Following a trying inaugural season, new Zephyr High School volleyball head coach Kenzie Krause asked her incoming players for two things — buy into her system and forget everything that happened in 2017.
Although coming off a rough first season, the Lady Bulldogs’ were upbeat during one of their first practices of 2018 as they worked off one another during team drills, which many players said was not the case in 2017.
“I had expectations that they didn’t know how to pass, how to set or hit anything,” Krause said. “I wanted to get the basics and fundamentals in and we could start from scratch. I knew some girls did not learn what I wanted to learn last year. We started with the basics and worked on that.”
As with any small school with a varsity volleyball program, Zephyr faces the disadvantage of playing much larger programs. Although in one of the toughest districts in the area, Krause said she is confident in her team because she has five seniors who have taken to learning the basics from Krause, and turning to their younger counterparts and teaching them so to maximize every practice.
“It’s very important. We have five seniors this year,” Krause said. “Four of them are natural leaders … I was really impressed. They just learned spike approach today and I had girls out there spiking. We just learned block approach a few hours ago. We had some major steps forward today.”
Before coming to Zephyr, Krause played volleyball for Stephenville High School as well as club league. Her first coaching position was as Blanket’s cross country coach last year, then she moved to Zephyr to head up her first volleyball team. Although new to Zephyr, seniors Aspen Williams and Tori Williamson feel Krause’s presence is greatly appreciated and she is already making a difference.
“It’s a good environment. Last year was a rough year because it was something new,” Williams said. “This year, with a new coach, it has been great. It’s been very encouraging. It was a good day. We’ve had our ups and downs, but with everyone having a positive attitude and moving in the right direction we’re taking three steps forward and we haven’t taken any back from last year. We are already three steps ahead from last year coming in. With the attitude change, it has been amazing.”
For Williamson, wrapping up her athletic career at Zephyr may seem a bit strange to an outside observer, but she said she felt perfectly at home with her new teammates. She attended Blanket in 2017 but her father Brent Williamson left for Zephyr to become athletic director and football coach. Due to Blanket not having a volleyball team, she had not played competitively since middle school, but with every player on the team starting from scratch she found herself quickly bonding with her fellow Lady Bulldogs.
“It’s going to be a good season. Coming out the first day, we were all kind of nervous, but we surprised ourselves with how we did, especially today when we scrimmaged,” Williamson said. “… I’m excited for next week. It’s our first game and I think we’re going to surprise some people.”