The former Oregon City High School standout athlete has signed on as head volleyball coach at Wilsonville

by: JEFF GOODMAN - Kristen Rott, formerly Kristen Forristall, is heading up the volleyball program at Wilsonville High School. The 2004 Oregon City High School graduate helped lead the Pioneers to three state titles in basketball.Kristen (Forristall) Rott, an Oregon City native who was a two-sport standout in high school and college, is now the head coach of Wilsonville High School’s volleyball team.

And considering she recently led the Wildcats to their first win over rival Sherwood since 2008, the transition appears to be going pretty smoothly.

“My husband and I were ready to move back to Oregon, and all I could find were coaching positions, but Wilsonville had an opening,” she says. “It’s a great fit as far as the district, the location and where the program is going.”

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

Rott played basketball at the University of Oregon for two years, making the Pac-10 All-Freshmen 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; she 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.

“I was a basketball player through and though,” Rott said. “In a year-round sport, fall was the only time where we really had the luxury of playing another sport. So, in high school, I tried volleyball. I just took advantage of it. It was something I did for fun. I had zero aspirations for volleyball — just to stay in shape. In college, I was recruited for basketball. But when a situation with the head coach at Oregon rose up, I decided I was done playing basketball. Then the volleyball coach asked me if I was ready to play volleyball.”

After graduating from Oregon, Rott went back to her passion — basketball — playing professionally in Gotha, Germany, in 2009.

Rott 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.

“(Playing overseas) was a great experience, but the professional lifestyle was not for me,” Rott said. “I’m a homebody. So I’ve been coaching volleyball since I got back from playing in Germany.”

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 filling her current position at Wilsonville.

Rott takes the helm of a program that won just four matches last year. But the Wildcats return 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.

Rott said she’s enjoying her job in the high school ranks, after going through grueling college practices at Oregon.

“[High school and college volleyball are] similar in the sense that volleyball is a mental game, and you have to have that confidence — It’s very much in the mind,” she said. “But the difference is, these girls want to be teammates and have the spirit days. It’s really refreshing. They’re excited. It’s not that rundown feeling at the college level, where it’s every day for three hours for four months. We get them for two months, and it’s a big sprint.”

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