Copper Hills begins a new era on the volleyball courtOct 04, 2022 12:54PM ● By Greg James
By Greg James | [email protected]
The introduction of the 2022 Cooper Hills volleyball team includes several new faces in important roles. Its new coach and the growth of players with little varsity experience could land them in familiar territory.
“I feel like this team has been fun so far,” freshman outside hitter Isa Taylor said. “I really try to get my emotions right and use everything we practice into my game.”
Taylor is only one of the new faces of the Grizzlies program. Their new head coach, Kylie Bussell, is trying to lead the team back to the state playoffs' final day. A place the team has been in two straight seasons.
“This season has been good,” Bussell said. “It has been a learning experience for a lot of us. We have had to learn how to play together. We have not played together much until now. We have several JV players getting varsity experience. They are doing a good job.”
Bussell takes on the role of the Grizzlies head coach after Silver Fonua left after eight seasons with the team. Last year they lost only 2 games on their way to a number one ranking and finished fourth in the state playoff. The season before, they finished second.
“It is a lot of pressure to take over for Silver, but I think some teams might overlook us. That gives us the opportunity to take some steps forward,” Bussell said.
Bussell has been on the Grizzly staff for three seasons. She also was an assistant coach at Bingham High School for five years. She graduated in 2010 from Century High School in Pocatello, Idaho, where she played volleyball and basketball. She attended BYU and is a math teacher at Copper Hills.
Two returning players from last year’s fourth-place team fill spots in the roster.
Mya Laufiso is the team's captain. She started the year as an outside hitter, but they have decided that libero fits her leadership and playing experience better. Senior Anya Hatch is the other with experience. She is also a talented wrestler.
“She (Laufiso) is a leader on this team. She has helped us with our ball control and gives us more control at the net,” Bussell said.
Taylor and Hallee Ediger have become new outside hitters. Taylor Ediger is a freshman and Hallee Ediger a sophomore. Coming into the season neither had played much varsity volleyball, but both have stepped in and played well.
“They are young but they are pulling their weight for us. They work really hard at practice and have the possibility to be very successful,” Bussell said.
Both of their young outside hitters hover around 28% hitting percentage, 30% is considered very good. The hitting statistic considers players' kills and errors. The youthfulness is exhibited on the court.
“I like making friends with the other teams and my teammates. This team is very well connected and we love playing in front of the big crowds,” Taylor Ediger said.
In its first region match of the season, a large crowd of over 200 watched as the Grizzles topped West Jordan 3-1. The Grizzlies pulled away by scoring 8 straight points in the final set. The Jaguars could not recover. Taylor Ediger had several well-hit balls that intimidated the Jaguar defense.
Copper Hills competes in the UHSAA Region 3 against Bingham, West Jordan, Mountain Ridge, Herriman, and Riverton. All six teams in the region started the season in the RPI top 12.
“We have a very tough region. It is going to be a battle the whole time. No one will go undefeated. It will be fun,” Bussell said. “I think this is a good group of girls and they work hard. That is going to make us tough against these teams. We will work hard.”