Sports

Falcon senior spotlights: Thoughts after the last home game

The seniors on the South Whidbey Falcons volleyball team: Kelsey Taylor, Katie Bushey, Lyna Nichols and Alyssa Coupe. - Photo courtesy of Lyna Nichols
The seniors on the South Whidbey Falcons volleyball team: Kelsey Taylor, Katie Bushey, Lyna Nichols and Alyssa Coupe.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Lyna Nichols

The four seniors on the Falcons volleyball team — Kelsey Taylor, Katie Bushey, Lyna Nichols and Alyssa Coupe — gathered to talk about their memories on the court for South Whidbey after the last home game against King's High.

Fondest memory?

Katie Bushey: The bus rides and going into Ivar’s in Mukilteo and conning them into giving us free food. It’s a secret. We’ve done it once or twice since we were freshmen.

Kelsey Taylor: When Katie and I were sophomores and on the bus to Bellingham at 6 a.m. we started singing “Rubber Ducky” and Celine Dion.

Alyssa Coupe: All the crazy things that happen at practice. People passing the ball with their stomachs and the interesting things people wear, like purple spandex leggings. Also putting girls’ phone numbers in the boys’ locker rooms at the opposing schools. Emily [Houck] got a text bomb with 500 messages that said “What’s up.”

Lyna Nichols: The bus rides and being silly with the team. Playing tunnel tag on the bus.

Season highlight?

KT: Scoring the game-winning point against Coupeville in the fifth game 15-11 on a tip over the block.

AC: Beating Coupeville in both of our games, but especially the one that went to five games at home.

LN: Senior night because we played hard. It was perfect.

How would you define your change or transition from freshman year to now?

AC: I’ve become more confident. My coaches have told me as the setter I’m the quarterback of the team. I didn’t want to be mean and tell people where to go. But I learned it’s not being mean, but organizing everything and going a lot smoother.

KT: I got a lot more confident. With the older girls I played with, I was intimidated and didn’t want to play in front of them.

KB: Since the very first time I played volleyball, my technique has improved. When I came in during eighth grade with Mandy and working on my approach, it was intimidating, but since then I’ve become more graceful and technically capable.

LN: I was nervous but I saw potential. I saw I wasn’t going to start on varsity though, which was tough, but I wanted to be energetic for the team.

How do you inspire a winning attitude in the younger girls against AMHS on Tuesday?

AC: We keep telling them to play our hardest and give it everything we’ve got. We can’t be scared they’re going to win, because truthfully, we’re just as good if not better of a team than they are.

KT: If we were so close to beating King’s this year, then we can beat Archbishop this year.

KB: I tell them to believe in themselves and they can be the best. If you think that you’re the best, then you can win like the best.

LN: Being cheerful and cheering everyone up on the bench.

Pregame rituals?

KB: We used to play the tap-tap game.

KT: During away games this year, the thing we’d do to put us in a good mood was put the girls’ numbers in the boys’ lockers. It would always be before the guys would come in from football. So you’d see them go into the locker room and come out with all these papers and ask which one of you is Brittany?

AC: Mandy’s speeches, which we joke that she Googles them. But they’re all hers.

How does this phone number thing work? Have you ever put your own numbers down?

All three simultaneously: No.

AC: It’s everyone on varsity and some junior varsity girls. We just write down their jersey numbers and phone numbers and say text me or call me if you want to talk. The best one was at Granite Falls because all the football guys came out and started trying to talk to us and figure out who wrote the notes.

KB: It didn’t work at Coupeville because it was just their PE locker room, so we looked kind of dumb.

What was the midseason meeting like?

KT: It added so much more pressure. It would be like watching somebody else playing on our court that we set up for them.

AC: It would just be depressing. It was finally everyone meshing and clicking together and knowing each other’s strengths.

How has the shift been?

AC: Since we started winning it’s been received well. Winning isn’t everything, but it helps.

KT: Alyssa said if we go to districts they’re not going to look at our playing time, they’re going to see if we won or not.

KB: It pushed us to that extra edge.

LN: We were just able to click, and that’s what we needed to do.

What will it be like to play in districts?

LN: I’m excited. Last year when we played, I didn’t get to play, but it was amazing on the bench and just yelling my voice out. Just to be able to play in the tournament this year, I’m going to be 10 times as excited.

I have to thank the coaches for all their hard work and setting up camps and fundraising and making it a point that volleyball is a life skill. And they love it so much, and we should honor that.

I really want everyone to know how great Mandy is. She makes it a point to know if you have a personal issue and relates to you as a teenager. I went through some struggles this season, and for Mandy to say it and follow through, it was really cool to have her as a coach and as a life mentor.

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