BEAVERTON – Beaverton appears to be the team to beat this year. They finished second in the Jack Pine and made it to the regional championship game last season in what many thought was going to be a rebuilding year. I talked to coach Steve Evans, last Thursday on the second day of practice. He said that they looked “pretty good” and were in the process of sorting out the depth chart. The coaching staff wants to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to win a spot.
They have had 33 kids try out which is probably beyond the number that they will be able to keep. A lot of factors will go into deciding who and how many players will make the team. The main consideration though is whether they are ready to play. Anyone who makes the team has to be ready to take the court. Other considerations include positional needs. The coaching staff will determine how many players are needed for each position and fill the team from there. The number of players can vary from year to year depending on the style of play employed in a given year. Another factor considered is whether one player has totally locked down the position. If not, the competition for playing time will carry over into the season.
Some positions are set with returning players. Mady Pahl will be the setter and will run the offense this year. Molly Gerow led the team in kills last year and will play left side. Becca Wirt will be the middle. Evans commented that Wirt got stronger and stronger as the year went on and that they are looking for a lot of kills out of her this year. Macie Jerome will be the Libero again this year. She was the top Libero in the conference last year and will run the defense. “We are fortunate to have the leadership to come back. We have somebody who is ready to run our offense in Mady and we have Macie who is ready to run our defense on the court,” Evans said. “It’s going to really allow us to do more things to communicate more changes on the court.” Averie Bassage will also have a bigger role this year according to Evans. She has put in a lot of work over the summer and will have a much bigger role this year.
With all of the talent returning it should be a good year for the Beavers. They seem to have all of the bases covered but Evans doesn’t want to think too far ahead. His focus and the focus of the team is reaching their potential. They take it one game at a time and try to get better every day. To do anything else creates too much unnecessary pressure. Evans does a lot of statistical analysis. Several of the metrics he uses are; kills per set, the way they serve-receive the ball, and the way they serve at teams. Evans expects his team to be at or above where they were last year in each of those categories. If they can accomplish this it should be a good season.
Beaverton starts the season at the Ludington Invitational on August 23. They get an early season matchup with Gladwin at the Freeland Quad on August 28 and their first home games will be during their invitational on August 30.