ILWACO - Grant Chinn comes to Ilwaco's volleyball program as a first-year coach via Fresno, Calif., where he played high school volleyball, and Seattle Pacific University, where he participated as a club player.
Chinn is replacing Julie Poyer as head coach and admits the bar is set high as last year's team went to the state volleyball playoffs for the first time in decades. His goals are realistic.
"I am committed to making the volleyball program at Ilwaco a long-term success. There will be an adjustment period while the players and I get to know each other and while they become comfortable with a new system."
He is counting on two seniors for leadership, Mary Margaret Tomberlin and Heather Hocking, as both saw action at state last season. Other returning varsity players include juniors Nicole Davis and Brittney Fox.
Chinn is also relying on a veteran coaching staff, with Laurie Hazen being his assistant and Mike and Sarah Hardin becoming the junior high coaches. "We all know each other and have similar coaching styles, so this should be a plus for the program," Chinn relates.
The Lady Fishermen will need all the plusses they can muster, as Woodland and Ridgefield are not only among the top teams in the 2A League, but also in the state. The Trico League has adopted rally scoring, which should make the matches even more exciting and fast-paced. Chinn is quick to mention that positions on the varsity are wide open. "I want to be able to blend youth with our upperclassmen with volleyball experience," he says.
Chinn, who coached eighth grade volleyball in Springfield, Ore., for three years, will have time to prepare his charges, as the Lady Fishermen don't begin play until Sept. 12. The flip side is that they open on the road against highly touted Woodland.
Mary Mar Tomberlin