Lady Huskies breeze past Nome, Homer
Kotzebue High School head coach Garrett Danner wasn't so much concerned with his team's wins over the Nome-Beltz Lady Nanooks and Homer Lady Mariners over the weekend. Although he wanted his team to win, he was more interested in letting his team they would face trials - and have to overcome them - if they wanted to reach their ultimate goals.
The message was received - and, to make things even better, the Lady Huskies celebrated the message with wins.
"It (the games with Nome and Homer) was another great test for us to measure where we stand against teams is our region and the state," said Danner. "The girls played well together on Friday, which led to a 3-1 win over Nome and a 3-0 win over Homer. On Saturday, (it) was a completely different story. Although we beat both teams, they took us to five sets in both games. This was due to Nome and Homer improvements and some adversity we were dealing with as a team. We did not play as well through those games, but that is exactly what I want our girls to understand. If we overcome adversity now, at regionals or state when the real pressure comes, we will have been there and done that."
The adversity the Lady Huskies were forced to overcome came from within. In an effort to see how his team would handle challenges, Danner said he inserted some of his younger players into the lineup on Saturday in an effort to get them valuable experience and force his older athletes to adjust.
With the new players in tow, Kotzebue continued to find success.
"I threw some lineup changes at our team on Saturday to get our younger girls some experience and to see how our team would handle chaos and adversity," he said.
Kotzebue senior Cassidy Kramer said the move generated the results Danner wanted.
"This weekend was a test for all players ," she said. "It tested patience for all of our varsity players and it got playing time for the freshman which will help them. We played to five sets in both games on Saturday. Coach switched up our rotations and so each player had to adapt to each position."
In the end, Kramer said the move could be good for the team.
"Coach doing that was a smart move," she said. He's getting us ready for any circumstance that comes our way."
For his part, Danner said he was pleased with how his team responded to the challenge.
"I am especially proud of my girls," he said. "They are working hard and have bought in to our program. Our goals are to win our region and, ultimately, to win state. We know that is a lofty goal, but it is our goal and we will work everyday toward that end."