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Fall sports preview 2013: Wilsonville volleyball

Wildcats looking to build on momentum with new coach


by: GREG ARTMAN - Lexy Thompson, who earned all-conference honorable mention as an outside hitter last season, figures to be a key contributor on the Wilsonville volleyball team this year. The junior is one of three returning all-league players for the Wildcats, who will be coached by former Oregon City High School and Oregon Ducks two-sport star Kristen Rott.After the Wilsonville volleyball team’s final match last year, then-coach Melanie Buchanan said she wished the season wasn’t over yet because things were finally starting to look promising.

This year, the challenge for the Wildcats is to carry their momentum forward with a new coach. Buchanan, who spearheaded the program for four years, has been replaced by Kristen Rott.

The transition marks the extension of a standout career in athletics for Rott, an Oregon City native and a two-sport standout in high school and college.

Rott, who graduated from Oregon City High School in 2004, was the Gatorade girls basketball player of the year as a senior and led the Pioneers to three state titles. She was also a McDonald’s All-America honoree.

Rott then played basketball at the University of Oregon for two years, making the Pac-10 all-freshman team in 2005, before joining the university’s volleyball team for two years.

Playing competitive volleyball for the first time since high school, Rott led the Ducks in blocks (117) and was second in attack percentage (.324) as a junior and ranked second in both categories as a senior. She helped the squad reach the NCAA regionals in back-to-back seasons for the first time in program history.

After graduating from Oregon, Rott played professional basketball in Gotha, Germany, in 2009.

Rott then returned to Eugene that fall, serving as a campus tutor. She rejoined the Ducks volleyball program as a volunteer coach in 2010 while earning a master’s degree in education.

In 2011, Rott was hired as an assistant coach on the volleyball team at the University of Pennsylvania. She also held an administrative position in the athletics department during her time with the Quakers.

Rott also gained experience as a technical advisor and recruiting coordinator for the Cherry Hill Volleyball Club in New Jersey before taking her current job at Wilsonville.

An attempt to reach Rott was not successful.

Rott takes the helm of a program that won just four matches last year but returns several skilled players, including three returning all-league honorees in all-around sophomore Madi Wardle, junior outside hitter Lexy Thompson and junior setter Hailey Hayes.

Sophomore libero Skyler Matthews, 6-foot sophomore middle hitter Genna Florig could also make key contributions after seeing varsity playing time as freshmen last season.

The Wildcats begin conference play at 6:45 p.m. Sept. 10 at home against Putnam. They are slated to host Sherwood at 6:45 p.m. Sept. 17.

AT A GLANCE

WILSONVILLE VOLLEYBALL 2013

Coach: Kristen Rott (first year)

Last year: 4-13 (4-10 in the Northwest Oregon Conference); no playoffs

Key players: Hailey Hayes, Madi Wardle, Lexy Thompson

Key loss: Jessica Portillo

Outlook: Wilsonville will attempt to build on last season’s momentum — it won its final three conference matches of 2012 — with a new coach who boasts Division I playing experience.

First home match: 6:45 p.m. Sept. 10 vs. Putnam 

SCHEDULE

9/5       Liberty tourney           4:30 p.m.

9/7       Silverton tourney        TBD

9/10     PUTNAM *                 6:45 p.m.

9/12     Liberty *                      6:45 p.m.

9/14     Tualatin tourney         TBD

9/17     SHERWOOD *           6:45 p.m.

9/19     St. Helens *                6:45 p.m.

9/21     TOURNAMENT         TBD

9/24     Parkrose *                   6:45 p.m.

9/26     SANDY *                    6:45 p.m.

10/1     MILWAUKIE *          6:45 p.m.

10/3     Putnam *                     6:45 p.m.

10/8     LIBERTY *                 6:45 p.m.

10/10   Sherwood *                6:45 p.m.

10/15   ST. HELENS *            6:45 p.m.

10/17   PARKROSE *             6:45 p.m.

10/19   West Linn tourney      TBD

10/22   Sandy *                       6:45 p.m.

10/24   Milwaukie *                 6:45 p.m.

* Northwest Oregon Conference match



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