Most of the teams at the top of the standings in Greater Spokane League volleyball are familiar. Mt. Spokane, Mead and Gonzaga Prep are all usually quite competitive – if not downright dominant.
But there’s a squad up there with the rest of them that might be a bit surprising.
Lewis and Clark ( 5-1) occupies second place, one game behind Mt. Spokane, tied with Mead and a game ahead of G-Prep and University.
The Tigers, off to their best start in a while, fell to Mt. Spokane on the road in straight sets Tuesday.
Tigers coach Chris Kosty knows the level of competition his squad is up against. The Tigers finish the season with U-Hi on Friday, then G-Prep and Mead next week.
“It’s a measuring stick the rest of the season,” Kosty said. “It’ll be tough.”
Even after the tough loss Tuesday, Kosty has been delighted by his team’s progress this season.
“We’re having a great start to the season,” he said. “We’re going into some tough teams, so we’ll see how the rest of the season goes. Right now, we’re playing really well and doing really well. It’s exciting.”
Kosty said the biggest difference this year from years past is the amount of effort the players are putting in.
“A lot of hard work,” he said. “The girls – especially the younger group I have coming up – have a very good work ethic. They are bringing a lot of energy and a lot of excitement to the game.”
Senior middle hitter Amanda Reed is a key component to the Tigers’ success, averaging roughly 18 kills per match. Kosty also cited sophomore outside hitter Maya Eastlund as an offensive leader and praised senior Leah Rodriguez as a defensive standout.
Reed said the team is growing up and coming together.
“It’s really great, especially the last few years, how we’ve really struggled with (defeating) teams, and now we just have such a great group of girls and we’re really working together,” Reed said. “I think we’ve had a really positive season.”
Reed said the loss to Mt. Spokane will be a learning experience.
“It was tough,” she said. “But we haven’t really faced this type of competition yet this season. I think coming into Mead and the next couple of weeks, I think this was a really good experience to get us prepared for those games.”
Reed thinks team unity is the driving factor in the gains the Tigers have seen this season.
“I think we just have really good team chemistry,” she said. “All the girls just have a really good bond. We’re all just having fun at practice and after practice. Our chemistry really brings us together and makes us a better team on the floor this year.”
Kosty and Reed are eager to see if their team can hold onto one of the top four 4A seeds from the GSL and qualify for the District 8 tournament, which starts Nov. 1.
“So excited, yeah,” Reed said.
“Yes, very much so,” Kosty said.