Kelly Kolb is the kind of energetic spark every coach loves to have on their roster.
Kolb, the libero (defensive specialist) for the South Lakes High girls’ volleyball team, brings her all-out style of play every time she takes the floor for the 8-6 Seahawks.
“She’s a great defensive player, she hustles and she’s not afraid to dive on the floor,” said Cheri Hostetler, the South Lakes head coach, of the scrappy, 5-foot-5 inch junior. “She’s very motivated.”
Last year on the South Lakes JV team, Kolb played a setter position. But Hostetler, the more she saw Kolb play, recognized the traits that would make a good libero player. Kolb, to her credit, has made the successful position transition this fall season – her first as a varsity player. Kolb’s athleticism is one of the best attributes of her game.
“She’s a basketball player [in the winter] and a soccer player [in the spring],” said Hostetler. “[At libero] you’re looking for a really good athlete. She’s great at hustling and is a great passer. She’s a natural leader. We barely ever take her off the court.”
Kolb and her teammates played a solid all-around match early last week when South Lakes defeated non-district opponent Washington-Lee, three games to two, on Oct. 13. The match took place at Washington-Lee’s home court in Arlington. The victory snapped a four-match losing streak for South Lakes.
“We had lost to some pretty tough teams,” said Hostetler, of the Seahawks’ prior losing spell going into the W-L match. “They really fought hard in that match against a [W-L] team that was pretty equal with us.”
South Lakes received a particularly good match from junior middle hitter Bethany Lowe.
“She just did a great job and held her own,” said Hostetler, of the 6-2 Lowe. She and [senior team co-captain] Stephanie Heimburg are both middle hitters.”
South Lakes carried a 7-2 record following a three games to two match win at non-district opponent Lee (Springfield) on Sept. 16. But Hostetler’s squad lost its next four matches – setbacks to Jefferson, Stone Bridge, Hayfield and Langley – before getting back on track with the victory over the Generals.
During the four-match skid, all of the losses came at home with the exception of the Langley match on Oct. 8.
<b>WHILE SOUTH LAKES</b> was 8-6 overall going into this week, it was 0-4 in Liberty District play. The Seahawks were scheduled to play district matches this week against host team Madison on Monday (Oct. 19) and at McLean on Wednesday.
Next week, the Seahawks will wrap up the regular season with home matches versus non-district foe Lake Braddock on Oct. 26 and district opponent McLean on Oct. 29. The match against the Highlanders will be South Lakes’ Senior Night. The team’s three seniors who will be honored in pre-match ceremonies that night are co-captain Jordan Hostetler, the daughter of coach Hostetler, Daria Victorov, and Stephanie Heimburg. Team manager Ben King will also be recognized.
Coach Hostetler believes her team has the ability to qualify for the upcoming Northern Region tournament. In order to do so, the Seahawks must win at least one match at the Liberty District tournament in two weeks. The team needs to prove to itself it can win a few regular season district matches against district opponents before the start of postseason play.
“We know the district matches are a little more important in the standings [for tournament seeding purposes],” said Hostetler. “Always what we’re going for is trying to make the regional tournament. We’ve never made regionals. This is a group that can do it.”
The coach believes the Seahawks have progressively improved over the course of the season. South Lakes will not be denied a regional berth for lack of effort. One can always count on the Seahawks to play their hardest and to give opponents their best effort. Already this season has been a success compared to two years ago when the Seahawks were 2-15 and last year when they went 5-12.
“They just need to keep up the good work,” said Hostetler, of her team. “I know they can win and they know they can win. They’re excited.”