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Joseph looks to repeat as state champs

By Steve Tool

Wallowa County Chieftain

Published on August 22, 2018 8:46AM

Steve Tool/Chieftain
Coach Jill Hite

Steve Tool/Chieftain Coach Jill Hite


Enterprise High School volleyball coach Lisa Farwell has a lot to be happy about. She actually gets to prepare.

Last year, Farwell stepped in as head coach after the mid-season departure of former coach Lisa Masters due to health issues.

Farwell didn’t walk into the job blind, though.

“I coached here for six years as a new teacher from 1996-2001. Yeah, it’s been awhile,” she said with a laugh.

Farwell added she’d also coached junior high volleyball for several years, which helped her prepare for last year’s abrupt transition. Jessie Cunningham is Farwell’s assistant.

“It feels good to start the season having put a little forethought into what I wanted my program to look like,” she said.

Word must have gotten around because the squad has 23 players — including 13 freshmen to replace the four seniors lost to graduation. The team currently has two seniors aboard.

“This is fabulous to have those young girls,” Farwell said in regards to the freshmen.

The coach already has 10 players picked for the varsity squad, leaving 13 for the JV team. With only six players on the floor at any given time, Farwell hopes to get in a few “C” games or even “C” sets.

“That way we can make sure everyone gets some playing time,” Farwell said.

Athleticism is the name of the game for this Outlaws squad.

“I have 10 athletic girls on varsity,” Farwell said. “They’re not big, so blocking may be a problem, but they hit well, serve well and pass well.”

She also noted the team doesn’t have one or two standouts as in years past, but the team level of play is uniformly high, more so than in previous years.

Passing is also high on the list of team qualities. The coach said she believes she has one of the finest passing teams in the league. Defensive expectations are also high on Farwell’s list. Some aspects of the team’s offense need work.

“I want us to be the team that never lets the ball drop,” Farwell said. “I want to see us playing into the bleachers for that last touch. I’d like to see us as having the best defense in the league. Offense is where we’ll have to spend some time to improve.”

Although the coach didn’t name names, she said she’s excited to have two freshmen and two sophomores on the varsity team.

“It’s always fun to see those young girls getting the experience of playing against varsity teams for four years,” Farwell said. “As a coach, it’s fun to think: ‘Oh gosh, what are those girls going to be when they’re seniors?’”

The team’s opening tournament is in John Day at the Grant Union Tournament Aug. 25. The Prospectors won the state 2A volleyball championship, so the Outlaws have their work cut out for them.

“It’ll be a trial by fire on Saturday,” Farwell said with a laugh. She added her main concern is getting the players enough real time on the court.

“We are out there looking for matches,” she said. “I want to get these girls time on the court. I’m not worried about our preseason record, I’m worried about our preseason experience.”



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