Originally posted on www,wcfcourier.com by Nick Petaros
SUMNER | When Kally Frisch isn’t reading opposing defenses in search of a weakness to exploit on the volleyball court, the Sumner-Fredericksburg senior says she enjoys reading stories of romance or mystery.
The four-sport athlete has become a bookworm of sorts over the past year, recently joining the academic club, “Battle of the Books” in which high school students are quizzed over their knowledge of award-winning literature.
“This is the first year I’ve actually been involved in it,” Frisch said. “I didn’t really pick up reading until last year, but now I regret it because it’s so much fun.”
Ask Frisch how a book on this year’s Sumner-Fredericksburg volleyball team would read, and the outside hitter says there wouldn’t be an antagonist within the group.
“It would be kind of a boring story because we have absolutely no drama this year, no drama whatsoever between any of us,” Frisch said. “It would just be a story about how awesome and how much fun it’s been this year. We all get along so well, every age group, from freshmen to varsity.”
First-year head coach Gwen Pagel has also noticed that cohesiveness.
“Sometimes you have drama with a lot of girls,” said Pagel, a former assistant for the school’s previous three head coaches. “Maybe they’ve been through that before and they just didn’t want that. They wanted to achieve. They’ve just really worked together to make the girls comfortable and feel like they’re a part of the team. I think that has shown with the success we’ve had so far.”
Frisch is part of a group of Sumner-Fredericksburg athletes who have found success in a variety of sports over the past few years. The Cougars’ 2012 softball team became the school’s first girls’ program to qualify for state since consolidation, and the volleyball team followed suit months later. The S-F girls have also found consistent success on the basketball court, winning three consecutive conference titles.
The school’s athletes have traded off leadership roles from season to season.
“We work awesome together in every sport,” Frisch said. “Most of us do play softball, basketball and volleyball. Once you get to state in one sport it makes it easier in every other sport.”
Frisch’s main interest has been volleyball since joining the school’s AAU team in seventh grade. She has traveled to Cedar Falls to compete on the Six Pack club team that helped deliver one of her high school highlights with a 16’s national title.
“I try and take those skills I’ve learned from club and playing with an awesome team and then going back to high school and playing with another awesome team,” Frisch said.
Class 2A’s No. 3-rated Cougars entered this year’s postseason with a 33-3 record following last year’s inaugural state tournament run in which Frisch finished with a team-best average of 3.7 kills per set. She ranks among the state leaders this fall with 4.6 kills on .358 hitting.
The senior combines her skill with a willingness to help bring the team’s younger players along. Pagel’s daughter, Becca, is a freshman setter on the team, while the team’s second-leading attacker, Jaydlin Seehase, is also a freshman.
“She’s been a good inspiration to them and has a good attitude,” Gwen Pagel said, addressing Frisch’s leadership. “She’s very, very competitive. She’s going to give it her all out there and she encourages the other girls to have a good attitude and not to doubt themselves.
"She just has that good court presence and is very positive. She always has that smile on her face and it’s been fun to see her come into that leadership role.”
Frisch says she enjoys it when the younger players on the team ask her to stay after practice.
“I’m always willing to stay after and work,” Frisch said. “That just makes me feel good because it makes me feel like I’m doing my role as a leader.”
Following her senior year at Sumner-Fredericksburg, Frisch plans to play volleyball at Grand View University in Des Moines.
“It’s going to be a challenge for me to play,” Frisch said, addressing the adjustment to collegiate volleyball. “But I’m going to work my butt off all summer in the weight room and go down there and do whatever I can. Whatever role that is, I’ll be fine with it.”
For now, Frisch’s main focus is helping lead the Cougars in a return to state. She sees more confidence resonating through the lineup this season and believes an aggressive approach will be a key to the team’s ultimate success.
“Play to win and not to lose,” she said. “If we can play like we’ve been playing, we’re going to be hard to stop.”
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