#1StudentNWI: Munster Volleyball ‘sets’ to success

#1StudentNWI: Munster Volleyball ‘sets’ to success

What’s recently happened?

Coming off of a 3-0 win against Kankakee Valley High School on September 12, Munster High School Volleyball now has an overall season record of 8-12.

During practices, the team’s main focus has been on pressure serving and overall perfecting their game. 

“We had a rough start at the beginning with some difficult tournaments, but we have improved so much each and every day at practices,” Junior Natalie Minyard said. “The team always supports each other. Even when we are not playing as well, we lift each other up.”

What’s coming up?

The volleyball team will be playing their next game on September 13 against Hanover Central High School.

Looking further ahead, Julianna Kisel, senior, hopes her and her team win sectionals this year. 

“Since it’s my senior year, I want to finish the season off with a bang,” Kisel said. “I think we have a good chance at sectionals this year. The team will just need to keep working hard at practice, sticking together, and having trust in one another’s abilities.”

Kisel is also looking forward to the Volleyball Senior Night on October 3. Her last season is bittersweet as she is looking forward to life after high school, but is parting from a team that she will miss playing with.

“I will miss the overnight trips and locker room talks,” Kisel said. “I can’t forget about the parents that have done so much for us girls. Most of all, I’m going to miss this team. I have played with some of these girls for years and it’s going to take some time to adjust to not seeing them everyday after school.”

Staff spotlight:

Originally playing just basketball, the idea of playing another sport was somewhat foreign to Kalin Woods-Cypert, volleyball coach. However, after her friend influenced her to try out for her school's volleyball team, Woods-Cypert played both basketball and volleyball throughout her school career. 

Starting coaching this year for Munster, Woods-Cypert moved from Arkansas to Munster after recently getting married to her husband. Once she heard about the job opening for the head Munster Volleyball coach, she was eager to apply.  As she starts off fresh to coaching in Munster, she also wants the team to look ahead and start off on the right foot. 

“The goal for this season is to do better than their previous year,” Woods-Cypert said.  “I want them to have better team chemistry and also make it farther in sectionals than last year.”

Along with Munster, Woods-Cypert has coached club volleyball for 10 years. She is excited that she is now able to coach and impact more players with both of her coaching positions. 

“My favorite part about coaching is developing players and creating long lasting relationships with them,” Woods-Cypert said. “It’s awesome keeping in touch with former players and seeing some of them play at the next level. It makes me feel good as a coach to know that I have some impact on them.”

As a coach, Woods-Cypert likes to have a balance between fun and work. She wants to ensure that the girls have fun, while still being able to learn and improve. 

“It is important to know that the girls are having fun, but also having some sort of takeaway,” Woods-Cypert said. “Being able to develop players and helping them get better makes coaching so much more rewarding.”

Student spotlight:

Ella Woltman, senior, was always told growing up that she needs to put her tall height athletically to good use. She tried basketball, but it was not quite her speed. However, in sixth grade, Woltman tried out for the volleyball team. She found volleyball to be more her style, and has continued playing it since. 

“My favorite thing about volleyball is the adrenaline rush that you get from it,” Woltman said. “As a hitter, I have always loved the feeling of getting a kill or block just because of the amount of energy that gets put into every play. The feeling of ending it all with one movement is just a powerful feeling.”

For her senior season on the Munster Volleyball team, Woltman has made it a goal for the team to win both conference and sectionals this year. To do her part for the team, she always encourages her teammates on and off the court and works individually, by maintaining a consistent workout schedule to improve her own skills.

“Since volleyball is, as most would say, 80% mental, it is important that I constantly reflect on how I am doing and learn from my current skill set,” Woltman said. “The main thing that pushes me to keep going is discipline more than anything. It can be hard juggling school, volleyball, and a social life. So, I try to stay disciplined and keep reminding myself of my goals to get better.”

Outside of the school team, Woltman plays club volleyball. She has played with Attack Volleyball Club, nationally with 1st Alliance Volleyball, and with Michio Chicago Volleyball Club. She is going to be finishing up her club season by playing nationally with Ultimate Volleyball Club this year.

Off the court, Woltman is an active member of the speech and debate team. As she aspires to be a lawyer in her future, she has found that speech and debate has taught her important lessons on speech and persuasion. 

“Something a lot of people do not really understand about speech and debate is the amount of knowledge you gain from it,” Woltman said. “Not only do you improve your communication skills, but you learn so much about the different ways to express yourself. I have learned that what you find important can impact the people in which you tell it to.”

Looking ahead, Woltman will be continuing her volleyball career at Gannon University next year. In college, she plans on studying criminal justice in the forensics branch and possibly going for a minor in pre-law. She then hopes to move onto law school for her ambition of becoming a lawyer.