The Kenyon-Wanamingo volleyball team has played well this season.
But there’s more left in the tank.
The Knights (13-6 overall, 3-3 conference) entered the week tied for sixth in the Hiawatha Valley League Conference standings and first in the Section 1A — West standings.
With just three regular-season matches and one tournament left, this seems to be the right time for K-W to step on the gas, elevate through the conference and section standings and put themselves in the best position to succeed in the postseason.
K-W will travel to Goodhue Tuesday for a matchup with the Wildcats, head to Triton Thursday for a matchup with the Cobras, then hit the road Saturday for the 8 Invitational in Cannon Falls.
“It’s going to be a really busy week for us. Having two away matches and then going away for a tournament this weekend is going to be mentally challenging,” said K-W head coach Jen Nerison. “We’re going to Goodhue on Tuesday and they’re really hot right now. We’re going to have to play sharp this week and make sure we work on controlling the ball on our side. We say that a lot, preach it, and practice it, but now we have to put it into action.”
Having tournaments on the schedule late in the season is often beneficial, with teams having the opportunity to improve and sew up weaknesses before the postseason. Nerison believes it presents an opportunity to gain an edge on other schools.
“We had our tournaments later in the season, where a lot of teams had tournaments right away in September. I’m hoping these late tournaments will benefit us, getting all these reps at the end of the season to keep jelling the team together and finding a good rhythm entering the postseason.”
After moving from Class 2A to Class 1A this season, the Knights haven’t played in the Section 1A Tournament since 2012.
“This is our first time back in the sections since 2012 so we are trying to prove to the other teams that we deserve a higher seed because we are playing tough,” Nerison said. “However, we have to go out and prove it on the court.”
K-W’s signature win of the season dates back to late August when they defeated Class A No. 2 Waterville-Elysian-Morriston 3-1 on the road. The Buccaneers have only lost one game since, while the Knights are still looking to find their extra gear.
“We played WEM early in the season and beat them in four games. They are playing really good right now,” said Nerison. “I’m not sure if we’ve stepped up our game like them. I think we’ve maintained, but I’m still waiting and hoping for a peak here where it kicks in and we step it up a level. I don’t think we have yet and I’m excited and looking forward to doing that here.”
Nerison — who’s looking forward to seeing how the team handles the grind of two away games, an away tournament and then returning to the court Tuesday, Oct. 15 for senior night — has full confidence her girls can get there.
“I’m excited for this week and to see when they are going to step it up because I know that they are. I’m confident they will do that.”