Kamry Breard is a team-first kind of gal.
As the Richland Bombers’ leading hitter and one of the team’s setters, she downplays her accomplishments to share the spotlight with her teammates.
Whatever she and the Bombers are doing, it seems to be working. Richland is 8-0 in the Mid-Columbia Conference heading into Tuesday’s home match with the Kennewick Lions (1-7).
“This year, everyone is working really well together and everyone helps everyone, which helps me to play smarter,” said Breard, a 5-foot-9 junior. “I feel like this year we have a lot of depth. We are doing better than we could have imagined, and we are having a good time. All of the teams are really good. We go out and try our best to stay up. We play one game at a time and try and keep our heads.”
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While Breard shies away from the limelight, Richland coach Bob Raidl makes sure his star player is recognized for her efforts.
“She does it all,” Raidl said. “She is a consistent kid, plays within herself, she’s left-handed and serves well. She did play varsity last year, but she didn’t stand out like she is this year. She’s not an aggressive kid, but she’s smart. She hit .440 (last Thursday against Kamiakin), which is unbelievable. I’m lucky to have her for another year after this one.”
Breard had a season-high 15 kills and 19 assists in that win over Kamiakin. She averages 10.8 kills and 14 assists per match.
“I’m really happy with how I’m playing” Breard said. “I feel like the coaches are really helping my game. I’m a smarter player and I place the shots better.
Raidl, who has coached longer than he cares to admit, said while Breard’s efforts have been key, the team’s camaraderie has been vital to its success.
“I have a very nice group of girls,” Raidl said. “I don’t think I have ever had a team with this little drama.”
Not everyone likes to see the Bombers on top of the league standings.
Chiawana is 7-1 on the year with its lone loss to Richland on Sept. 29. They will meet again Oct. 22 at Chiawana.
“Someone is going to have to help some others out to catch them,” Riverhawks coach Jim Steach said. “They have four solid kids that can all hit the ball well. They are balanced all the way across. They are set up well to defend the middle, they serve well and they are consistent.
“It’s nice to be sitting at 7-1,” Steach continued. “We have done good things, but we are thin on depth. We have actually been putting things together with band-aids the last couple of weeks. People have had aches and pains. I have more missed practices at this point of the year than I have in a long time.”
The Riverhawks lost senior middle Bethanie Nelson to an ankle injury in their match against Richland and hope to have her back Tuesday for their match at Southridge. Also, junior McKaidan Moore has been nursing some back injuries, and they have been limiting her swings.
FAMILY TIME: For the first time in 16 years, Raidl has two sets of sisters on his varsity team. Junior Savannah Haynie is joined by sophomore sister Madelaine, while junior Lexi Lacey’s freshman sister Alaina earned a roster spot.
COYOTES ON THE RISE: Columbia-Burbank is sitting pretty atop the SCAC East standings heading into Tuesday’s home match with River View. The Coyotes are 4-0 in league play, while the Panthers and Kiona-Benton Bears are 3-1. Perennial powerhouse Connell, which has been to state eight of the past nine years, is 2-2.
“You teach them the skills and motivate them to step up and use what they have learned,” said Burbank coach Gary Louie, whose team hasn’t qualified for the 1A state tournament since 2006. “It’s the heart and desire to achieve their goals.”
The Coyotes have gotten good production out of junior outside hitter Taylor Turner, sophomore middle Jordan O’Connor and setter Carissa Gradwohl, a three-year starter.
“Both of our hitters are go-to players for us, but the success comes from our play across the board,” Louie said.”That’s where we have our power — with everyone chipping in.”