GRAND ISLAND — She may be young, but making sure Kayla Pyc is involved on offense is essential to the Vikings girls volleyball team.
“She’s only a junior, but this is her third year on varsity,” Vikings head coach John Head said. “She’s worked really hard this past year.”
Pyc was positioned in the middle of the formation to start the season, but soon after was moved to outside hitter to get more touches.
“We put her in the middle in the beginning but we couldn’t get the passing consistent enough to get her involved,” Head said. “So we put her on the outside so we can utilize her hitting a bit more.”
The Vikings coach said she had seen lots of time in the middle over the summer playing with Niagara Frontier Volleyball, but the Vikings needed to change things up to get the offense going.
“She played a little bit outside last year with me,” Head said, “but in club with her height and blocking they used her in the middle.”
Pyc said she’s comfortable in both positions and likes to hit, but she misses using her height to block up front.
“I liked it outside but I also like blocking in the middle, so it’s kind of half and half,” Pyc said.
Despite her mixed feelings on the move, the 5-foot-10 junior said it doesn’t matter where she is on the floor as long as she’s helping out.
“I just like being all around,” Pyc said. It’s not like one specific thing, I just like to play.”
Her coach credited her time with Niagara Frontier Volleyball as essential to her growth as a player.
“She practiced three times a week off season with the NFVB club team, so her confidence is much improved,” Head said.
Pyc said her coaches at NFVB helped her focus on the mental side of her game as well.
“My coach, Robert Pierce, he kind of helped me be able to see more of the court,” Pyc said. “He just made me see more of a mental game than just physical play.”
Pyc explained that focusing on her mental state during games helps to give an edge over players that are just as talented as she is.
“It’s all about head strength now,” she said, “because you know the skills, it’s just fine tuning those in your game.”
Head noticed Pyc using that mentality to help her teammates out as well.
“She’s great because she’s positive and she’s all over the court,” Head said. “She’s maybe a little tough on herself sometimes, but she’s a very positive influence. She’s the first one to go pick up her teammates.”
Pyc said playing in a tougher environment at NFVB over the summer helped her attitude as well.
“I think it’s a little more intense because these girls are set on playing just volleyball,” Pyc said. “They don’t have a second sport so it’s kind of just the experience. Getting scouted and getting as many reps as you can and improving on what you already had.”
Pyc said after volleyball season ends she wants to try running track, but she has high hopes for the Vikings this season.
“As long as our team keeps playing steady we’re going to go far,” Pyc said.