Gateway: Sports

Returning to the top of the league? Klein, Moore believe it will happen for Gig Harbor volleyball

When Gig Harbor volleyball coach Melissa Klein named four captains for the upcoming season, she knew what she wanted in team leaders.

“They keep the energy up,” Klein said. “They work really hard. They’re the first ones in the gym and the last ones to leave. They’re not worried about what they’re doing but worried about what they can do for the team.”

Senior Maddy Moore seems to fit that bill perfectly.

“If we need a hype-man, I’ll be the hype-man.”

That mindset will be key for Moore and her teammates, who look to rebound from a 6-8 record last season after winning their league in the two years prior.

“Our primary goal this season is to have one focus as a team,” Klein said. “To be team-centered. And obviously, to win. Our first goal is to win league and go from there.”

That goal to win the league may become a reality with the progression of younger players entering their senior year.

“We had a lot of promising young talent last season,” Klein said. “We’ve got strong seniors this year. It’ll be really nice to see what these girls can do.”

Moore agrees with Coach Klein regarding Gig Harbor’s potential this year.

“I think we’re trying to work back up to what we used to be. My sophomore year, we started off with a really good team. We’re building our team chemistry back up. I think it’s working out pretty well.

“We play really well together. We’re playing more as a team this year. Last year, we played more as individuals. We have a better offense, so I’m really excited for that.”

One team standing in the way of Gig Harbor’s ultimate goal? The defending league-champion Capital Cougars, who finished with an undefeated league record in 2018.

But if there was one game that brought added meaning, it wouldn’t necessarily be their matchup versus Capital. It’d be the rivalry game against Peninsula — the school next door that defeated the Tides in two contests last season.

“We’d hope they would approach every game with the same excitement, but I know when it comes to Peninsula, they probably have a little more excitement and are pumped,” Klein said.

The hometown matchup generates a larger crowd, with fans filling both sides of the gymnasium regardless of location. It’s a reason for added pressure, but also a reason for energy, according to Moore.

“We know there’s more pressure to beat [Peninsula],” Moore said. “But we have our dance circle, and we hype each other up before the game. We know going in that we’re going to put everything we have into the game and play our best.”

With just one season left in her high school career, Moore has two more opportunities to take down the rival Seahawks. She also gets to face Capital two more times — once in her gym, and once in theirs.

But Moore knows her experiences mean more than winning.

“Your team is your family,” Moore said. “That’s my favorite part. During the season, they’re all my best friends. I love them all so much. The relationships you build with the girls is something you can’t build in everyday life. It’s just amazing to play with them for the last three years. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”