By Wade Clarke
The Mound Westonka White Hawks volleyball team is officially on a roll. They started out 5-1 in non-conference play. The White Hawks defeated Maranatha, then fell to Woodbury and beat Providence Academy. All three of those games were at home in the “Hawks’ Nest.”
The White Hawks were clearly a stronger team than the Maranatha Mustangs. The girls won in three sets, 25-11, 25-13, and 25-10. Every one of the girls got on the board with a kill, block or ace. The White Hawks are led offensively by senior Sydney Ryks and junior Carissa Richie. Richie had more than a dozen kills against the Mustangs.
The White Hawks defense is a team effort, with everyone chipping in and everyone getting work done. This team is deep. All of the girls have different skills, but all of the them bring something to the table. The coach subs a girl in, and you know she is just as skilled and will work as hard as the girl that came out. The Richie, Ryks, Melissa Drill (senior), Hannah Drill (sophomore), Sydney Turner (junior), Katie Clarke (junior) block party is something to see at the net. It’s nice to have a lot of tall, hardworking girls.
On the day after Labor Day, the White Hawks were shot down by the Woodbury Royals, 25 -18, 25-18 and 25-19. They lost in three sets, but the match was much closer than it appears. Woodbury had a middle hitter that MWHS did not have an answer for early on, and by the time the White Hawks figured that out, it was all over but the crying. Even though the White Hawks got beat, they stayed positive and helped each other through the match.
Thursday that week, the White Hawks defeated Providence Academy in three sets, 25-19, 25-22 and 25-17. Richie and Ryks went on a tear again. I think they had more than 20 kills between the two of them. I did ask both of the dads how those girls can hit the ball so hard. Point blank, I asked Ryks’ dad if they sent her out to a DARPA research center and had some kind of cyborg bionic implant stuck in her arm. He insisted that all they did was have her play a lot of volleyball.
And that is really the truth of it. All joking aside, the girls have not only spent a lot of time in the gym, they have gotten a lot done there. Coach Ashley Neaton has gotten the team working together and enjoying each other’s company on and off the court. As a father of two daughters, I know that is harder than it looks.