KALISPELL — The Kalispell Gacier volleyball team is one of the more successful in the state this year with a near-perfect conference record. And as the regular season wraps up, the Wolfpack have their eyes set on divisionals and state.
"I am definitely most excited to just keep working with my team and keep getting better," said senior captain Sarah Downs. "I know there's a lot that we can still do to improve, and there's a lot of changes we can make. And I'm really looking forward to making those with my team and working to be the best we can be."
With a 9-1 conference record so far, Downs gives all the credit to their growth in team chemistry.
"I think it's just a great team chemistry, we all really understand each other and understand our goals that we have together," said Downs. "And I think that that really helps us have a drive to win. And being first in our conference I think that's been a really big motivator to us to stay on top and just keep winning."
Fellow senior and captain Haven Speer leads the team with 70 assists, but her goal is to finish out her final year of high school volleyball with a championship win.
"This makes me really excited for this year and I think we've done great things and can do more great things in the future," said Speer with a smile. "And I'm really excited for that divisional tournament and coming out on top."
After finishing third in the conference last year and falling short at divisionals, Speer has seen the team grow and knows the best is still yet to come.
"Since the beginning of the season, I think we've definitely made some drastic improvements from you know summer ball and that type of thing," said Speer. "I think our coach has done a really great job of addressing all of our specific strengths and really just blending those together to create something really special and I'm excited to see kind of where that takes us."
Coach Christy Harkins, who’s in her 17th year with the program, is proud of the team's wins but even more the growth she's seen in her players.
"My honest favorite part about these guys is how much they've matured," said Harkins. "They have grown so much as young women. Their responsibility has improved, their commitment has improved, their communication skills have improved, it's just it's fun to see them mature and grow.
"You get into playoffs and it's anybody's game, and you never know what can happen. So I think we've got to make sure to stay focused, they've been pretty focused most of the season so if we continue that mentality I think I will help them for sure."