New league means new opportunities for Lady Miners
Photo by ASHLEE MYLES
The Wallace Miners volleyball team pictured are (back row, from left) Savannah Smith, Makenna Merrick, Kiya Taylor, Tia Hendrick, Cora Frank, Jaden House, Elli Welch and McKelvy Specht. Front row is Kendall Lohr, Riley Valley, Kynadee Gilmore and Chloe Cielke.
WALLACE –– The Wallace High School volleyball team is in a very advantageous position as they head into the 2020 season.
With the formation of the new 1A D1 Scenic Idaho Conference, the Lady Miners appear to be the class of the league in its inaugural season, and Lakeside and Genesis Prep will be chasing them for the majority of the season.
Katie Bauer is in the second year of her second stint as the leader of the Miner Program (four years total), but armed with the optimism that comes with being a preseason favorite and having the ability to play, it seems as though things are trending in the right direction for the Ladies of Wallace.
“We believe we have a strong chance of finishing at the top and earning a state berth,” Bauer said. “Like all teams, we have had to deal with some uncertainty regarding our season and we did not get all of the summer preparation that we would have liked. Our players have a very positive attitude regarding the changes we have had to implement with COVID-19 – they will do whatever it takes to get to play.”
Returning two All North Star League players from last year, Bauer will lean heavily on Riley Valley and Jaden House to lead her squad, but matches will be won by a complete team effort from an incredibly talented and deep roster.
“We have our all-league setter Riley Valley returning along with our all-league middle blocker, Jaden House,” Bauer said. “Jaden will be transitioning to outside hitter and will be joined by senior outside hitter Chloe Cielke. Elli Welch will be returning as middle blocker and joined by newcomers Savannah Smith and Tia Hendrick. Sophomore Kynadee Gilmore is another newcomer to watch with Cora Frank on the defensive side. Senior Kendall Lohr will be looking to play a larger role this year as opposite hitter.”
According to Bauer, the strength of the Miners this year will be their offensive attack.
She predicts that Cielke and House will be the primary attack on the outside with Valley delivering the ball.
Last season Wallace gave up a lot of points at the service line, something Bauer is focusing on to keep her girls competitive.
Unlike the previous years of mean ingles season games and then suddenly having a play-in game against a White Pine League opponent, Wallace will play a district tournament where the 2-3 seeds will play to see who gets a crack at the league champ to determine who the district champion is and who represents the SIC at the 2020 State Tournament in Jerome.
Winning may be a secondary goal for the team this season with all of the world’s uncertainties.
“Our highest priority this season is to support each other to stay healthy and well,” Bauer said. “We are screening our players for COVID-19 symptoms daily, disinfecting equipment and social distancing as much as possible. Our motto for this year is ‘one team one heart,’ because we know that more than ever before we have to pull together and do whatever it takes to be successful.”