Kyong Lee wasn't afraid to challenge her own team. The Colorado Springs School volleyball coach helped create a schedule thick with upper-class teams rather than just fellow 2A and below teams. She knew if the team wanted to advance in the playoffs, they needed to play a tougher schedule than in years past.
For the first time since 2008 the Kodiaks advanced to the 2A state semifinals, where they took No. 1 seed and eventual state champ Dayspring Christian Academy to five sets to nearly advance to the finals. Lee, The Gazette's 3A-1A Volleyball Coach of the Year, said the tougher schedule may have been part of what helped the Kodiaks advance in the playoffs.
"I think so," she said. "I know that the seeding doesn't take the classes into account, but we're a small 2A school and so, you know, we have 54 girls in all of upper school and I think more than half of them play volleyball. When you get into 3A and above, you've got a lot more girls to choose from in terms of putting together a team, and it's a better team. A lot of those girls are playing club, and so I think that playing the better teams, playing teams with a quicker offense, which you don't see a lot in 2A, really helps prepare for state where you do face the better teams."
Another key to the Kodiaks' fifth consecutive season with 20 or more wins was experience. The team's four top scorers were also the four seniors. Laney Swan led the charge with 429 kills.
With those four players leaving, Lee said next season will be more of a rebuilding year. Still, with the strong volleyball tradition at CSS, Lee said she expects the team to play well in league and have a chance at regionals.
The Kodiaks are a team that has proved to be competitive year after year. Since Lee took over in 2008, the Kodiaks have a record of 186-45-1.
"Success breeds success," Lee said. "So the more successful we are, the more girls we get who want to continue that tradition and go really work for it."