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New Mabton coach expects excellence

— The new Lady Viking volleyball coach is expecting big things from the team this year and in the future.

“I believe we have a lot of talented girls, a lot of hard working girls,” said Jennifer Spicer. “I’ve been working with them since June. They want to play volleyball. They want to go far.”

Spicer was hired to coach the Mabton High School volleyball team this summer after six years as an assistant coach in both mid-dle school and high school at the 2A level. For Spicer, Mabton is a return to the familiar.

“I’m from Zillah,” she said. “I grew up there and played there. I’m excited to be at Mabton, it’s another 1A school. I grew up in a 1A school, so it’s good to be back.”

In addition to coaching volleyball she’ll be working as a substitute teacher in Mabton. But her focus this fall is to get the volleyball team playing the best it can play.

“This year it’s all about getting to know the girls, the community and their par-ents,” she said. “With the talent that we have, we can compete.”

Spicer played basketball and volleyball in high school, and was recruited to play basketball at YVCC before knee surgery ended her athletics. She did stats for the team instead.

“I’ve played and coached, I just really love the atmos-phere of athletics,” she said.

Although basketball was her first love, she started to really enjoy volleyball.

“Basketball was my thing,” she said. “When I got older I got tired of basketball and got more into volleyball. I started going to games when I wasn’t even coach-ing. It became a passion.”

She’s looking forward to playing in the 1A league against her former team. She played on the same Leopards team for one year as the woman who now coaches Zillah.

“It’ll be pretty fun to compete against somebody I went to school with,” said Spicer. “I want my girls to compete with her girls, and I think they can. At the same time I want to develop a strong sense of sportsman-ship. I hope to have a friendly rivalry.”

She said her players match up against the rest of the league as far as talent is concerned. She plans to hone her players’ skills so they will be competitive.

“It’ll be an interesting sea-son from what I’ve heard around the valley,” Spicer said. “It’s all new to me to be back in the 1A, but I hope we can get the ball rolling and fit right in with the Zillahs and Grangers and Goldendales.”

In the meantime, Spicer is also busy raising her six-month-old daughter. She’s brought her baby to practices and the team has taken to the infant.

“I was a little nervous be-cause I was going to have a little one,” she said. “But she’s been good and it’s been easy to take her along and let the girls play with her.”

Spicer’s enthusiasm for the program certainly bodes well for the season and she said the players are all on board to strive for a winning season.

“It’s a nice change of pace to be part of a program that wants to go far,” she said.

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