Patriots in Murray put ‘whole heart’ into season’s volleyball play
Oct 24, 2019 03:09PM
● By Carl Fauver
Kambrie Tresko, Kiana Romero, Yudit Pacheco, Malia Michel, Ashley Gomez, Astrid Roblero, Karina Matus and head coach/principal Mike Lambson (L-R) surprised some opponents this fall with their improved play. (Mount Vernon Academy)
By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
From one year to the next, Mount Vernon Academy’s principal is not sure what sports will be featured at his school.
“We never know for sure,” said Mike Lambson, principal and multi-sport coach at the Mount Vernon Academy, a private school nestled in the heart of Murray. “We survey our students each year, and whichever sports have enough interested kids, those are the teams we field.”
A year-and-a-half ago, such a survey led to Mount Vernon reestablishing its girls volleyball program, for the first time in nine years. The timing was good, because a handful of new students enrolled from one family. Among them was Emily Henry, an experienced volleyball player. And her mother, Kristen Henry, agreed to coach the resurrected program.
It was a perfect fit – for one year.
“That family decided not to enroll again this year and Kristen told us in June she could not coach again,” Lambson added. “But we had already told the girls we’d have the volleyball team again this year. So, I scrambled around looking for a coach.”
And as has happened to Lambson many times during his life-long association with and ownership of the private school, he finally found that coach – staring back in the mirror.
“This was my second season coaching volleyball,” Lambson said. “The first time was about 15 years ago. It was a similar situation. We had a coach leave us and I could not find one in time so I took over. I felt much more prepared this time around.”
In terms of wins and losses, the Patriots won just one match last year and two this year. But the Murray group doesn’t really measure “success” by counting W’s and L’s.
“Our team had much better chemistry this year and we were more connected,” said senior and team co-captain Kiana Romero. “Everyone put their whole heart into the season. I think we were much better than last year.”
Kiana was born in Utah, but lived much of her early childhood in Mexico. This is her third year attending Mount Vernon Academy.
The other co-captain was another senior, Kambrie Tresko. Two of her sisters also attend the private Murray school, with one of them, Malia Michel, a freshman volleyball teammate.
“Last year was tougher and we (were) definitely better this season,” Tresko said. “A lot of us were afraid of the ball last year. I was completely new to volleyball last year. I have become much more comfortable on the court and with my team.”
Another unusual thing can occur on a small, seven-member high school volleyball team at a tiny (85 students, K-12) private school in Murray.
When the season began in September, Kambrie and Kiana were the only seniors on the squad. But by the end of the season, two more had joined their ranks.
“We started counting up their credits and realized Astrid Roblero and Karina Matus would also be eligible to graduate next spring,” Lambson added. “So, we started the season with two seniors but ended up with four – which really isn’t all that unusual for us.”
That leaves only three who might return to play Patriot girls volleyball a year from now – Ashley Gomez, Yudit Pacheco and Malia Michel. But Lambson said, “Three or four eighth-graders have also expressed an interest, so we will definitely have a team again next year.”
The principal plans to begin his search for a qualified volleyball coach earlier next year, in order to remove himself from the sideline.
“Coaching is fun. and I am definitely better at it this time around than I was years ago,” Lambson concluded. “But I’m confident I will find someone who knows the sport even better.”