CASEY SARGENT sets the ball in action in Gilford earlier this season. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
December 02, 2013WOLFEBORO — As the Kingswood volleyball program continues to make strides in the right direction, school records continue to fall and that was certainly the case this year, as five different Knights set school season and/or career records.
The majority of those records came from the members of the senior class, who came into the program with coach Mike Christy when he took over four years ago.
"This class was really the class that put the program on the right track," Christy said.
Four seniors came home with school records as the season came to a close. The records were led by a pair of seniors that have been with the team for all four years of their high school careers.
"I brought them both up as freshmen," Christy said.
Senior outside hitter Emily Rumery finished her career with 248 kills, a new school record and broke her own school record with 114 kills in a season, becoming the first Kingswood volleyball player to go over the 100-kill mark in a season. She also set the record for the most kills in a single match, recording 16 in one outing. Rumery just missed recording 100 kills in a season as a junior, finishing with 98.
Senior setter Casey Sargent became the first player in Kingswood history to record more than 500 assists, going over that mark in the final regular season game. She finished with 527 for her career. She also set a school record with 104 service aces in her career and also set a school record for most assists in a match, with 24.
"Emily got better every year and Casey got better every year," Christy said. "They realized what they should've done and they did it."
He noted that both career records were impressive for a number of reasons. For assist numbers, a setter needs players who can put the ball away and for kills, a player needs to adapt when defenses change to combat that type of game. And as players improve, there's always more people vying for kills.
"We're spreading the ball out a little more and the girls are getting better," Christy said. "Our defense is much better and that gives us much more opportunities to go up and get those kills."
Defense was at the heart of another couple of school records, as senior defensive specialist Taylor Durand finished with 19 digs in one match. She also finished with 250 digs for her career. Sophomore Kelsey Hammond set a school record with 143 digs for the season.
"If you can get kills of digs, defend the other team's offense and go back on offense," Christy said. "We put ourselves in that position this year."
The other record holder this year was senior Cassie Bates, who was a dominating force at the net for the Knights. She finished with 80 blocks this season, a new school record, finishing with 144 for her career, which was just two seasons. She also picked up the most blocks in a season with 14 at the team's final regular season game in Laconia.
"She was an absolute force," Christy said.
Christy also noted that the seniors were important in bringing along the younger players who will be the future of the program going forward.
Freshman outside hitter Liz McLaughlin recorded 75 kills in her first year and will certainly be challenging Rumery's career and season records in coming seasons. Sophomore setter Emily Saunders provided valuable backup to Sargent and will be taking over that spot next year. Along with the other younger players, they watched and learned from the senior class and will be hoping to continue the progress made over the last few years.
Hammond, Kirsten Gehl and Abbie Morrissey all made the Great Bay Elite Team, the highest level of competition available for the high school kids, so Christy knows he will continue to see improvement across the board.
"The girls are still doing their part to get better," he said.
While plenty of records went into the books this year, it's a safe bet that as the program continues to grow and improve, those records will continue to fall.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 569-3126 or firstname.lastname@example.org.