By BEN MCCARTY
News staff writer
November 15, 2006
Scott Walker knew that it would be a tough job when he accepted it.
The Hood River Valley volleyball team finished the season with an 0-13 record, playing in a highly competitive league, where the top two teams, Gresham and Central Catholic, dueled for the 6A state title last weekend.
Despite a downer of a season, Walker feels that the team is heading in the right direction.
“Next year I expect us to do a lot better than we did this year,” Walker said.
The team loses four seniors in Katrina Logsdon, Rachel Schlosser, Sasha McHale and Sarah Wood.
Wood was selected as the team’s MVP for her leadership from her libero position, while Schlosser won the team’s “Eagle Spirit” award.
Sophomore Amy Hobbs was named the team’s most improved player. Walker said Hobbs is highly athletic that he has high hopes for in the future.
Walker acknowledged that replacing the seniors would be hard but sees hope on the horizon in the form of some of younger players who earned experience on varsity this year and who excelled on the JV team.
“We have some young girls coming up who will help our team next year,” he said.
He pointed out Eryn Jacobsen, Bailie Hillen and Justina McCrea as three younger players who stood on the varsity team for him this year.
Walker called the JV team “the most competitive in the program” and felt that Cara Williams and Rachel Perry are two players on the rise on the team who could contribute on varsity next year.
One of the advantages of having only a handful of seniors this year is that the team will be stocked with experienced players for next season.
If this season’s juniors return next year, the squad will have nine seniors.
That experience will come in handy when the team tries to make its mark in a tough conference.
While the team may have a ways to go before it stacks up evenly against the Greshams and Central Catholics of the world, Walker wants his team to be competitive.
“In a couple of years hopefully we’ll be competing with the better teams in the conference,” he said.
The Eagles were beaten soundly by both Gresham and Central Catholic in their two meetings with each team, and Walker hopes that his team takes the losses as a learning experience for the future.
“I hope our girls got a good understanding of how competitive we have to be,” he said. “We have a good group of girls who have their eyes set on what they have to do.”
Walker himself comes away from the season with a little less hair, and some of the hair that remains is a little more gray, consequences of managing a rebuilding project.
The team has three wins in the last three seasons and Walker may find himself with a few more gray hairs before he has the team were he wants them to be.
Walker said that the team will be staying busy in the off-season, and will be running and attending volleyball camps and holding open gym workouts in the spring as they seek to improve on their first year in the Mt. Hood Conference.
Walker does have one dream that he wishes his team can achieve. Against some of the Portland area schools, his tallest players were as tall as the opposition’s shortest players.
“I told our players at the banquet that I want them to work hard and grow taller this off-season,” Walker said with a laugh.