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Lady Viks eager to show net skills this season

The Forest Grove Lady Vikings are hoping teamwork and experience equates to volleyball wins in 2016.

Last year’s squad — which was riddled with underclassmen — struggled from a win/loss standpoint, but flashes of talent and progression tantalized head coach Nicole Miles and has her optimistic about her more experienced group this season.

“These girls are really good kids,” Miles said. “They’re experienced athletes and know what it takes to do the job.”

While thin from a numbers standpoint, eight of Forest Grove’s nine roster players return from last year’s team, so Miles said they’re experienced playing with each other. But with limited numbers, the Viks will really have to pull together to see success on the court.

Miles expects, specifically, four girls to contribute significantly to this team’s success.

Senior setter Ashlie Collins is starting for her second season and is doing a “great job and delivering the ball where we need it,” Miles said. Abby Boozer, a senior outside hitter who’s starting her second year at Forest Grove after transferring from Pendleton, “has a great view of the court,” said Miles. “She has a great attitude, is super athletic and has a high reach. I’m counting on her to drive us offensively.”

Kinsey Barnett, a junior outside hitter who’s been playing with the varsity since her freshman season, is a “really good kid and athlete who brings a lot of experience,” continued Miles. “She plays hard for her teammates.” And lastly, Annika Rusaw, “our senior who’s super scrappy and makes every effort to keep the ball off the floor,” finished Miles.

The girls participated in a jamboree in preparation for the upcoming conference season last Friday at West Salem. They played four mini-games and finished 1-3, but Miles wasn’t concerned with the outcomes.

“It was really just an opportunity to see what other teams in our league are bringing to the table,” she said. “And get our girls tuned-up with some real competition.”

Miles knows the Greater Valley Conference is always tough, and expects West Salem and West Albany to be exceptional.

“It’s just a tough league,” she said. “But were going to put our heads down and work.”

She said her team’s strengths are athleticism and their willingness to scrap. Forest Grove opens its season at 6:30 Tuesday with a home game against West Salem.