Peak Performer: Bayli Monck, Vista Ridge

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Photo - Vista Ridge volleyball player Bayli Monck is the peak performer this week. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016.. photo by Jerilee Bennett,The Gazette
Vista Ridge volleyball player Bayli Monck is the peak performer this week. Monday, Sept. 5, 2016.. photo by Jerilee Bennett,The Gazette

Bayli Monck is off to a great start to her senior volleyball season, and her father, Greg, has had a front-row seat to watch it.

Bayli, a 5-10 senior for Vista Ridge, is the early leader in kills in the entire state with 91 through eight matches. Greg, the team's coach, has enjoyed watching his daughter - who's one of three team captains - get off to a fast start.

"She has put in a lot of time and effort to get better, and it's good to see her hard work - and the commitment other people have made to her in her life - is paying off," Greg said. "In addition to her mother and I, she's had other coaches contribute to her becoming better and helping this team."

Bayli says having her dad as her coach is just fine.

"I've gotten used to it after four years, and I know the difference between when he's being my dad and being my coach," she said. "But it's fun and enjoyable to have him as my coach, and to be able to spend that time together."

All of the Wolves have enjoyed the fast start to this season. The team is 5-3, including winning all four of its matches at the Regis Tournament last weekend, without losing a single set.

Vista Ridge went 17-52 from 2012-14 before putting together a record of 11-12 last season and nearly making the playoffs. It's hoping this can be a breakout season that brings the program's first winning record since 2011.

"I think the difference this season is the drive the team has," Bayli said. "In past years, we've had some girls who didn't care as much and who went through the motions. But now, the three captains make sure everybody has the heart to play as hard as possible, and we've made it clear that we're here to win."

During practice, Bayli and Greg are player and coach. And while they've done a good job of separating sports and home life, sometimes one can creep into the other.

"We have a policy about not talking about volleyball at home, and if my wife is there, the policy is followed," Greg said with a laugh. "If she isn't, we may talk about volleyball at home. But we try to have a buffer. At school, I treat her just like the other players, and if I push her or any other player a little harder, it's because I knew they have potential."

After playing basketball as her main sport most of her life (she was the third-leading scorer for Vista Ridge last season) Bayli just recently recognized that volleyball may be a better bet for her when it comes to playing in college.

"I think my heart and my drive to play at the next level makes me a strong player," she said. "I'm better at volleyball, and I really realized my love for it while playing club ball."

"People haven't really ever thought about Vista Ridge volleyball being very good, and it is hard at a school that has very good football and basketball teams. But if we can keep playing like this, we can get more of our fellow students out here to support us and make a name for ourselves as a good volleyball team."