‘Scrambling’ Wykons fall to Gwinn
West Iron’s libero, Kendra Smith, gets down to play a shot during the Wykons’ match against Gwinn on Sept. 6.
IRON RIVER—Having a senior-dominated lineup is both a blessing and a curse. While they’re still around, experienced players are often more accomplished and certainly a comfort to a head coach. But when they move on, they can leave a crater to fill.
In many respects, that’s where the 2018 West Iron County volleyball team stands as the season gets into full swing. Having lost five starters from last year’s district champion, the Wykons are at the start of a rebuild. And throw in a couple of injuries to new starters Lexi Pellizzer and McKenna Kegley and coach Brenda Grubbs and her team are having to adjust on the fly as the new season commences.
That dynamic was on full display in WIC’s first home dual match of the season on Sept. 6. The Wykons stumbled out of the gate, stiffened in the middle and then went away rather meekly in the end as they fell to Gwinn 25-12, 25-20, 25-27, 25-10 in a West Pac Conference match at Charles Greenlund Gymnasium.
The loss left the Wykons at 0-3 in dual matches on the young season.
“Right now, we’re pretty beat up,” Grubb said. “We’re scrambling. We started off (the season) mediocre, then we were getting better and better and then we went to the Great 8s and Lexi fractured her foot and then McKenna rolled her ankle pretty badly. So, we are legitimately beat up.”
Pellizzer was on crutches, while Kegley remained on the bench for long stretches of the Gwinn match but did come on and help stabilize her team later as it fought back to make the match more competitive.
“We are recovering from (the injuries) and we have new people and we’re trying to adjust,” said senior setter Riley Stine, who is beginning her third year as a varsity starter and has by far the most experience on the squad. “We’re doing the best that we can. But I feel like in the last game, we kind of just gave up.”
The injuries certainly don’t help a team that began the year with little varsity experience to begin with. Aside from Stine, senior middle hitter Katie Frederickson logged some playing time last year down the stretch and senior libero Kendra Smith also has experience in varsity competition. But that’s about it for this year’s version of the Wykons as they dive headlong into their season.