Good season predicted for girls volleyball.

Kerri Molitor returns to coach Wildcat team.

“As some 75 girls vying for a spot on Oak Harbor High School’s girls volleyball team set out on a pre-practice warm-up run Tuesday, their new coach smiled knowingly.Kerri Molitor has been there and done that. Now she’s back on her home court to pass on the skills and knowledge she’s gained over 22 years of playing and teaching her favorite sport. Back in the early 1980s, Molitor was part of an Oak Harbor volleyball dynasty.Coached by the legendary Darlene Brasch, the lady Wildcats out-set, out-spiked, and outplayed every volleyball team that challenged them. “From my sophomore to my senior year we were undefeated in Triple-A,” Molitor said. “I learned a lot from Coach Brasch.”After graduating in 1984, Molitor took Brasch’s lessons on the road, playing college volleyball at the University of Puget Sound and at Western Washington University, then coaching volleyball at the college level. In her 10 years at Skagit Valley College, Molitor’s teams always made it to conference tournament play and never finished lower than third in the league standings.This year, she plans to imbue the lady Wildcats — 4-6 last season — with her winning ways.And though she hasn’t had much chance to scout the competition, Molitor likes the deep talent pool she has to work with.“I have a lot of hard-working athletes who will give their all,” Molitor said. “And they want to win.”One way Molitor plans to help her players accomplish that is by setting high expectations and standards.“We have 11 teams in this league,” she said. “To make the playoffs, you have to set high goals and I think the girls will set high goals for themselves.”When Molitor says she has a lot of hard working athletes, she means just that. But that volume of potential players is a source of both pleasure and pain for the Wildcat’s new coach. As the long rumba line of runners snakes back into the gym, Molitor says only about half will make the cut for the varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams. And that the upcoming cuts will cut both ways.“The hardest thing is telling some kids they won’t be a member of the team,” she said.Still, the Whidbey native says she is “really” excited to be back home and coaching a sport she has loved playing and coaching for a long time. And eager to shape her girls into force to be reckoned with.One area she won’t need to improve is attitude, Molitor said.Before practice began this summer, she asked her fledgling team members why they turned out for volleyball.Three reasons were consistently given.“They said because it’s fun, because they like the competition and the people they’re playing with,” Molitor said, adding that her girls also share the desire to be part of a team striving for a goal together.It’s a goal that, for Molitor, is displayed on a banner high above the gym floor where her new team has broken into groups to practice bouncing volleyballs back and forth to each other.There are dates on the banner denoting the years when Oak Harbor High School’s girls volleyball team clinched league championships — years like 1982, ’83 and ’84. When Molitor was on the floor, setting and spiking and helping the Wildcats win a long string of victories.Now Molitor’s back, aiming to do it again, aiming to add more dates to the banner.A reasonable goal considering she’s already been there. And done that. “