Kalli Lane would frequently attend youth volleyball camps at Olympia High School growing up, always dreaming of the day when she could play for the Bears.

When that moment did finally arrive four years ago, however, her giddiness was quickly replaced by different, albeit equally powerful, emotions.

Putnam Lieb Potvin Dailey Logo“Thinking back to my freshman year I would step onto the court and just be terrified,” Lane said. “I was wide-eyed and just so scared.”

She had just cause to be. See, Lane made it into the Bears’ starting lineup that year as a setter.

“As a setter you have to learn about your teammates. You are the one constant on every volleyball play,” Olympia head coach Laurie Creighton said. “You’re in the middle of pretty much every play. You need to understand your team. You need to be able to draw out the best of them.”

And Lane has done just that over her four years.

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Olympia senior Kalli Lane is the Bears’ four-year starter at setters. She’s the first player under coach Laurie Creighton to start four years at the position. Photo credit: Grant Clark

Creighton has had only a handful of freshmen make the varsity roster during her Hall of Fame tenure, which is in its 41st season and includes two state championships. None had been setters.

That is before Lane’s arrival.

“I can’t think of any time we had a kid set as a freshman,” Creighton said. “To be a freshman on varsity and add to that to be a freshman setter on varsity is pretty unusual especially in our program. Kids come in a bit of a ‘deer in the headlights’ anyways, but to play setter, that’s a tough spot to be in. The thing with Kalli is she has this drive in her so that helped her survive some of those big moments when it gets crazy on the court. She wants it bad.”

It’s that motivation that helped Lane get through her first year with the Bears and since then she hasn’t just survived, she’s excelled.

“My competitive natural really kept me out there during my freshman year,” Lane said. “Now, when I step on there, I’m just excited. I feel comfortable. It’s been such a great experience. I think I’ve learned a lot about myself. Playing with so many different people you learn a lot not just on the court, but off the court of who you want to be and where you want to go in life.”

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Lane helped Olympia place sixth at last year’s state tournament. Photo credit: Grant Clark

At season’s end Lane will have played in more than 70 matches during her high school career, including four at the 4A state tournament last year as a junior where she helped her squad collect the sixth-place trophy.

“One of the things I continue to love about coaching is watching that process of kids growing from their freshman year in the program to, those who are able to finish four years of it, confident people, not just in volleyball players though, but in life,” Creighton said.

The Bears are currently fourth in the 4A South Puget Sound League with two regular season contests remaining on the schedule as they look to secure one of the league’s district playoff berths.

“We’re trying to get to that place where we finish strong and make a good run at the playoffs,” said Creighton, who was named last season’s 4A SPSL coach of the year.

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Lane and Taryn Wilson (No. 24) get ready for the Bears match against Squalicum. Photo credit: Grant Clark

With Lane directing the offensive traffic, Olympia advanced to last year’s West Central District championship in 2018, highlighted by a first-round upset of defending state champion Auburn Riverside in the first round.

“It’s challenging which is so much fun. It’s hard and its competitive, but we’re getting better even if we lose,” said Lane about the Bears’ play in the 4A SPSL this season. “Senior year has been so much more special (than previous years). I felt like I have grown a lot more competitive on the court because I want my last run to be good and playing with these girls has been so amazing. We’re all playing for each other.”

Lane is one of four seniors on this year’s roster, joining Lydia Batten, Isabelle DuMontier and Ainsley Martin. The group first started playing together prior to high school in club volleyball and the familiarity has gone a long way with Lane’s success on the court as a setter.

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Lane (No. 4) sets up fellow senior Lydia Batten (No. 3) for a kill. Photo credit: Grant Clark

“The relationships I have made with all my teammates throughout the four years I have been in the program has just stuck with me and it’s made the biggest impact on me,” Lane said. “It’s made this past four years so meaningful to me.”

Lane and her fellow seniors will play their final home game on October 29 against Emerald Ridge. The Bears close out the regular season on October 31 at South Kitsap with the 4A South Puget Sound League tournament taking place November 7-9 at Emerald Ridge High School.

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