BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Rochester volleyball player Alexa Kouskousakis was first-team all-Three Rivers Conference as a setter last year.
She’s back for her senior year this year, but coach Erin Leap said that Kouskousakis is also one of the team’s best hitters. So Leap is considering going to a two-setter system in 2022 to take advantage of all of Kouskousakis’ talents.
Whom the second setter will be is to be determined, according to Leap.
“Kouskousakis is one of my setters, and the other one is yet to be named,” Leap said. “And I might play multiple setters. I don’t know that I’m going to have a set second setter. It might be something that I rotate in and out every other set, every other game. I don’t know yet. We’re looking and training a handful because we want ‘Kous’ to be able to hit. So in order to do that, we’ve got to get somebody else on the court that can run it. We’re just in the process of trying to figure all that out. I haven’t even put a lineup on the floor yet.”
Leap talked about her team after an open practice to the public Friday. In addition to finding the right roles for Kouskousakis and the players around her, another objective is finding the right mix of back-row players.
Kylie Houston was honorable mention all-TRC last year at libero, but she graduated. Still, Leap said she has multiple back-row options.
“Right now, I don’t have a libero, and I’m not sure I’m going to use a libero yet,” Leap said. “We’re just tracking things and charting things and trying to decide. I have a lot of defensive players. I don’t know that I’m going to necessarily need a libero. So right now, that’s up in the air. I’m not saying I’m not going to have one, but I’m also not saying I have one, and I definitely haven’t named one yet.”
The graduations of first-team all-TRC player Emily Hughes and Lexy Thomas means that the Lady Zs will have a shorter block, according to Leap.
“We’re kind of playing around with different defenses too,” Leap said. “We went over perimeter defense and rotational defense (Thursday), so that we can kick in to either-or. If we go up against a team that we’re struggling with the block if they have a big hitter on the outside or if they have a big hitter on the right side that our block isn’t able to be effective, that we can kick into another defensive position. So I’m just trying to cover all the bases of what could happen.”
The team has five seniors: Kouskousakis, Kylie Coleman, Kylee Freant, Rily Holloway and Kennedy Leap.
“They’re a nice group of girls,” Leap said. “Everybody gets along. But they are starting to push each other more than I would say at the beginning. I think we’re starting to challenge each other a little more, which is what we need to do.”
Rochester opens their season with a match at Plymouth on Aug. 13. They will host both a Class 2A sectional (Oct. 13-15) and regional (Oct. 22).