Kayhi volleyball is on its third coach in four years, but the coaching carousel might just stop with Kevin Johnson.
Johnson was hired in June after previous coach of two years Beth Sandefur left to go coach the Schoenbar Middle School volleyball team.
Kayhi last won a Region V title in 2015, that team was lead by Kevin Johnson’s daughter, Kreylyn Johnson who was a junior, but it seems longer after four near winless seasons.
Johnson wanted to coach because he thought the team needed to reach their full potential as well as putting in the effort that it takes while having fun.
“The program needed a coach who had some energy and that could get our girls to a higher level of playing,” said Johnson. “It’s to get the kids committed to understanding you have to work to win you can’t just show up and get lucky and I think the other part to that is that I want our kids to leave with a good experience”
Johnson has coached both boys and girls in basketball and volleyball and it’s his twenty third year of coaching.
“I’ve coached both this is my twenty-third year as a coach so I’ve been at it for a while, I’ve coached both genders,” said Johnson. “Girls you know you can coach hard, you can coach girls hard, you can push them you can drive them you can do all those things but the difference between males and females in coaching them is their ability to deal with what they internalize. With girls its a building progress but once they get there it’s over,” emphasized Johnson.
Senior Captain, Mackenzie Merrill has had three different coaches her four years of high school volleyball. Not having the same coach for more than two years has taken its toll on Merrill.
“It is definitely one of the biggest downfalls I struggled with as a player. Not being able to make a true connection with a coach was really hard,” said Merril.
Merril said that the team has had big leaps from last season to this season with Kevin Johnson.
“The biggest shift from last year to this year would probably be bringing in a new coach who wants to change the volleyball community in Ketchikan. He’s not only here to keep volleyball going but to make it a great program,” said Merril.
Merril thinks that the team connects perfectly with Kevin Johnson.
“I think we fit right in with Kevin Johnson. He is a coach who pushes and pushes until we reach our full potential. Even if that’s us slowly gaining progress or us losing our confidence he is right there to pick us up and show us what a team is,” said Merril.
Merrill is confident in what Kevin Johnson and the team can accomplish in the future.
“I know for a fact Kevin Johnson is going to lead this team to a region win and possibly a state win,” said Merril.
The Lady Kings won their first home game in 2 years over the past weekend. On Friday night the Lady Kings lost (3-2) and Saturday night the Kings won (3-1). Senior Erika Rauwolf was proud of how the seniors played this weekend.
“It was a good weekend of games. I thought I did pretty good of locking into the game and being focused, Mady had an amazing weekend of hitting and Mackenzie did a great job setting for us,” said Rauwolf. “It feels good to have two wins in our back pocket, it’s a couple more wins than we’ve had in the past couple years.”
Kayhi JV2 and JV also played this weekend.
(L) Kayhi JV2 vs Met JV (25-22 (Kayhi), 25-18 (Met), 15-12 (Met))(W) Kayhi JV vs Met JV (25-10 (Kayhi), 25-14 (Kayhi), 25-10 (Kayhi))
(L) Kayhi V vs Met V ( 25-19 (Met), 26-24 (Met), 25-20 (Kayhi),
25-15 (Kayhi), 15-14 (Met))
Kayhi V vs Met V (25-19 (Met), 25-15 (Kayhi), 25-19 (Kayhi),
The Lady Kings volleyball team is playing the Klawock Chieftains and the Metlakatla Lady Braves this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Although Klawock and Metlakatla are a 1A and 2A team, senior captain Erika Rauwolf does not think these games should be taken lightly.
“Klawock is a good team, they are a very put together team with talent, they play almost year round, same with Met.” Said Rauwolf. “We need to go into these games with a positive attitude looking for another win.”
5:30 PM Kayhi V vs Klawock V
5:00 PM Kayhi JV vs Met JV
7:00 PM Kayhi V vs Met V
11:00 AM Kayhi JV2 vs Met JV
1:00 PM Kayhi V vs Met V
The Lady Kings volleyball team won their first game of the season last Friday night against the Craig Lady Panthers. Senior captain and starting setter Mackenzie Merril was excited about their first win.
“This win was very important. It shows how much we’ve grown. I remember looking around at my teammates on the court and I thought to myself, wow, look how far we’ve come,” said Merril.
Senior co-captain Madison Purcell also thought this win was huge for the team.
“We developed as a team and finally pulled through and won a full set of games. We now know how it feels to earn a win, and it’s time to get stronger and smarter to feel that feeling again,” said Purcell.
Thursday: Ketchikan vs Craig
(L) (25-15, 25-12, 25-15) (Best of 5)
Friday: Ketchikan vs Craig
(25-21 (Craig), 25-23 (Kayhi), 25-18 (Kayhi), 25-18 (Craig), 18-16 (Kayhi)) (Best of 5)
Kayhi (2-4) will play their last game against Homer (3-3) at home on Friday Oct. 4 at Esther Shea Field. Kayhi will be recognizing their seniors starting at 6pm, they have 14 seniors this season. Senior Kristian Pihl talks about playing his last football game.
“It’s been a very emotional week coming to realization that football is going to be over for me in about 24 hours, it’s been making me look back on a lot of memories,” said Pihl. “The more I’ve been thinking the more I regret the feel of feeling like I didn’t go hard enough on certain plays and certain games even. What I’ve been suggesting to all the lower classmen in sports is to go as hard as you can, no matter the circumstances because it is going to end soon before you know it.”
The Lady Kings head to Craig to play the Lady Panthers this Thursday and Friday night. The previous week the Lady Kings lost to the Panthers at home in a close set of games. Senior, Erika Rauwolf hopes to get a win this weekend.
“I think that this weekend of games is much needed. We need to start rolling, regions is coming up and it’d be nice to get our first win this weekend,” said Rauwolf. “We are getting better at keeping our attitudes up and staying together even when we are losing, which is hard at times.”
Kayhi football(2-4) suffered their fourth defeat 65-0 last Saturday to Houston Hawks(5-0). Kings trailed 51-0 at half and only had one first down the entire game. The Hawks are the number one team in the conference.
“We were overmatched in every category.” Said Kristian Pihl.
With 2 minutes left in the 4th quarter Kings coach Ryan Varela subbed in Patrick Garica as quarterback.
“I haven’t played qb [quarterback] for a while, I came in and had a good mindset not thinking about what happened in the past,” said Garcia. “I believe I have grown as a player mentally.”
Kristian Pihl said he has had enough of losing.
“I haven’t seen any film yet, but I am going into Friday expecting to win,” said Pihl
Phil along with other seniors will play their last home game of their highschool against Homer this Friday at 6.