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Filling a key spot

Rugby senior Kelsey Leier proves valuable in the left outside hitter position

October 23, 2009
Matt Mullally

Rugby senior Kelsey Leier spent the past two years anchoring the middle hitter spot on the volleyball court, so she was a bit apprehensive when Panther coach Brenda Olsen moved her to the left outside hitter position early in the season.

"It's a lot different, Leier admits. "My first tendency was always to move over and help block which I was so used to doing."

Eventually, Leier learned to stay put and the switch has sparked the squad. After Leier's postion change, Rugby went on a five-match winning streak and has posted 10 wins in its 15 matches.

She's averaging around six kills and four service aces and 13 digs a match.

Olsen describes Kelsey's play as steady, providing solid serving and net play every match.

And that's something Leier strives to accomplish.

"I just want to play as hard as I can and contribute where I can,' she said.

Kelsey is among a large group of seniors on the squad, and that experience and leadership has been a reason the Panthers have turned in one of their best regular seasons in recent memory.

"We're all close friends and want to compete hard for each other,' she said.

Rugby will finish with a winning record for the first time since 1997 and is expected to again qualify for regionals.

However, Leier said there is more to accomplish, including playing well at this week's district tournament in Bottineau and getting out of the first round of regionals. That's been a stumbling block for the program.

Leier is hoping to be part of the senior class that gets the Panther past it.

"If we can start of with a lot of fire and play as a team we can compete (with any team),' she said.

 
 

 

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