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KITTITAS – The Kittitas Secondary School volleyball team can call themselves scrappy, and they’re OK with that.

Embracing an identity that’s got them off to a fast start to the 2019 season, the Coyotes will take it.

“We’ve been doing better than anyone really expected,” said senior Taylor DeKoning. “We’re a very scrappy team and we’re just making everything work. We work well together and that’s really helping us push our goal.”

Kittitas has knocked off bigger classifications like 1A Cashmere High School in four sets (25-6, 26-28, 25-12, 25-15) and 1A Granger High School in four as well (25-23, 27-29, 26-24, 25-22).

But the Coyotes also did extremely well in the Ephrata High School tournament on Sept. 7, defeating four teams in the process to get to the championship match. Kittitas defeated 2A Ephrata in the semifinal but took runner-up after taking a 3-0 defeat to Cheney High School.

And on Saturday, Kittitas routed DeSales High School with ease in three sets to improve to 3-0.

“It’s been a great season for us,” said head coach Daniel Robertson. “Once we got past the jamboree, which has always been a disaster for us, the rest has been great. We’ve been competing and beating some bigger schools and some storied programs.”

The Coyotes have accentuated their defense, which is something Robertson said they’re “staking their claim this year.”

“It’s the biggest thing,” Robertson said. “We’re not servicing, passing particularly well, but we just don’t let a ball drop. And that’s the difference for us. Every team has an identity, that seems to be ours. That we’re scrappy and just refuse to let a ball drop until we can find somebody get down.”

And especially at state, Kittitas’ defense will be even more important vying against teams with more talent and height advantage.

And no surprise is DeKoning has picked up right where she left off last season. She’s already accumulated 134 of the teams 240 kills, along with 31 aces.

While she makes her presence known as an outside hitter, she’s also keen on the defensive side, leading the team with 121 digs.

“If I couldn’t be outside (hitter), I would want to be a defensive specialist,” DeKoning, a George Fox University commit said. “I love digging, not as much, but pretty much the same as hitting. When you get the ball, you get to dive left and right, popping everything you can.”

The Coyotes currently hold a 90.3 percent serving percentage. Behind DeKoning is Tory Coates and Anna Robertson each with 14 aces.

As for kills, Anna Robertson is second on the team with 43, and Courtney Coates is third with 23.

Tory Coates has notched a sterling 186 assists of the team’s 198.

Digs, there are five players with 70 digs or more. Dekoning (121), Tory Coates (65), Anna Robertson (73), Amelia Mohn (74) and Allison McCune (70).

Kittitas will head to Goldendale High School for a 4:30 p.m. start next Thursday.

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