The net effect

After reaching its highest point in more than a decade last year, Oak Harbor volleyball has high aspirations for this year.

The Wildcats reached districts for the first time in 11 years last year. And as head coach Kerri Molitor begins prepping her team for another run at the top, a lot of things remain the same.

Last year’s team is down only three seniors. This year, Molitor said she will rely on the leadership of five returning seniors.

The strength of the program is evident in the raw number of players she has to mold into winners. The formation of several local club teams has created a deeper talent pool for Molitor.

“I can’t say we’re young and inexperienced,” she said. “Some of the younger kids are experienced through club.”

The popularity of the sport puts her in a situation unfamiliar to many Oak Harbor coaches — she might have to cut players.

“It’s scary for girls to come to a sport that might cut,” Molitor said. “I just need to look at what will benefit the team the most.”

This year, Molitor said she has 42 girls trying to make the squads.

Molitor said she has high expectations of returning players such as Krystal Rouselle, Jennifer Muzzall, Ashey Kingma and Miranda Thiel.

Rouselle, Muzzall and Kingma were all named as second-team all-league players last year for the ‘Cats. Kingma also broke the OHHS single-season record for service aces with 113.

Thiel narrowly missed all-league honors, despite being second on the team in kills (181) and digs (304).

Last year, the Wildcats ended the season with a 7-1 league record and were 13-4 overall.

The ‘Cats begin their season on the road against Kamiak on Sept. 8 in a non-league matchup.

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