WALLA WALLA — “All for one, and one for all!”
That’s the call that Walla Walla Community College volleyball team captains Reese Amy and Courtney Cosdon take to Gresham, Ore., with their Warrior teammates for the NWAACC Tournament beginning Thursday.
“Courtney and I are both team captains, so it’s our job to keep everybody positive and up and going,” middle hitter Amy said.
“We started off (the WWCC season) really well, and hopefully we’ll get that back — we WILL get that back! — in the tournament,” setter Cosdon said. “We’ve had highs and lows as a team, and I know I’ve contributed to that. When you’re down on our team, everybody’s down. I know it’s been rocky, but I try to keep my team positive, and stay positive myself. I need to keep myself up so it keeps the team going.”
The duo plays a leadership role on the Warriors squad they didn’t have as freshmen.
Last season, Amy played right-side hitter and played in just 59 of 155 total games for WWCC, and didn’t see any time on the court in the NWAACC Tournament as the Warriors fell in the title match to Mount Hood.
This year, she’s played in 116 games to date after switching to the middle hitter position, has been selected to the NWAACC Sophomore All-Star Team, All-Academic Team and was twice named East Region Offensive Player of the Week.
And last season, Cosdon lost the starting setter job to sophomore Kayla Hanus, who now plays for Div. II Brevard College in North Carolina. Cosdon played in 85 of 155 games for the Warriors.
This year, Cosdon has played in all 188 games and was selected to the Sophomore All-Star Team, All-Academic Team, first-team All-NWAACC, and was twice named East Region Setter of the Week.
To compare their two seasons at WWCC, look at their numbers:
For Amy, she had 59 kills (averaging one kill a game) with a .193 hitting percentage, and 32 blocks in limited duties as a freshman.
This season, Amy has 401 kills for a 3.46-per-game average and .274 hitting percentage, with 71 blocks.
Cosdon had 338 setting assists with a 3.98-assists-per-game average, with 16 service aces, 105 digs and zero blocks as a freshman.
So far this season, she’s racked up 1,174 assists, 36 aces, 244 digs and 24 blocks.
The seasons are night and day for the duo.
“We can actually contribute this year and help the team win!” Amy said. “We’re just different players now, completely different.”
“I feel like I got a lot better in the offseason,” Cosdon said. “I feel like I’ve been playing really well.”
Warrior coach Tim Toon agrees.
“They’ve both just exploded as sophomores,” Toon said.
“We moved Reese to the middle (from the right side) so she could use her speed,” he said. “She has a great passion and energy, and hits the ball so hard. I’m excited we were able to harness all of that.
“Courtney was a good setter last year, and got beat out about halfway through the season,” Toon said. “This year, she’s emerged as a team leader and a quarterback. She’s largely responsible for us having a very, very potent offense,” he said. “She delivers the ball very consistently to the hitters. She’s fearless in setting the middle, and everything we do hinges on the middle doing well and it opens up the whole offense.
“Both of them have exceeded my expectations, and I’m thrilled with the kind of seasons they’re having.”
And heading into the NWAACC Tournament at Mount Hood, with their first match at 9 a.m. Thursday against Linn-Benton, the team captains know what they have to do.
“I feel like I’m definitely ready to play,” Amy said. “I need to keep my hitting percentage really high, and make sure I can put down anything that Courtney sets.”
“I want to play to the best of my ability and be consistent,” Cosdon said. “We’re a middle-focused team, we set in the middle a lot, so we (Cosdon and Amy) have to be together or it doesn’t work. We have to be spot-on.”
The tournament continues through Sunday.
“We have a very favorable draw going into the tournament,” Toon said. “If we can pull it together and play well, we’ve got a nice path to finish strong.
“Over the last month, we haven’t played particularly well or trained well,” he said, “so I’m hoping, for four days, we can pull our boot straps up and go. We’re fully capable of playing a high level of volleyball. We could go 2-and-out or we could win the thing — and I choose win!”
The NWAACC Tournament is likely the last collegiate volleyball competition for both Cosdon and Amy. Cosdon plans to pursue veterinary medicine at Idaho, and Amy begins pre-med studies at BYU Provo, and both intend to focus on their studies instead of athletics.
“It’s been a good time, I wasn’t sure I was going to play college volleyball,” Cosdon said of her experience with the Warriors. “I just took it on a whim, and I’m really glad I came here. I hope we finish the NWAACC Tournament well so that will be my memory of volleyball.
“It’s been really fun, a good two years.”
“We need to accelerate and keep going,” Amy said. “We have to take advantage of every opportunity.”
And most importantly, Amy, who is known for her vocal play, sets the tone for the Warriors.
“Dominate! And kill them with fire!”