GENOA – When Keith Foster took over as Genoa-Kingston volleyball coach before the 2010 season, he wanted to create a new atmosphere.
Foster knew part of that was building a foundation from the ground up.
Knowing this, Foster started Aggression, a volleyball club for third- through eighth-graders based out of Genoa. The club was affordable, and players didn’t have to travel out of town to get the club experience.
Now, Foster and the rest of the program are really starting to see Aggression playing out at the high school level, and Foster said he thinks his Cogs are in for a big season in 2014.
“Every single year we continually see more talent, stronger experience,” Foster said. “And when I first showed up, kids in stressful moments would resort to old habits, and the old habits were not my habits, and we struggled a little bit with that. And now the habits that I was working back to are ones they worked at four, five years ago in this program.
“It’s been a great opportunity. There’s a huge buzz around the school. People are excited about it, we think it’s going to be a strong season.”
Foster said that last season, when the Cogs finished 19-18 while playing in the strong Big Northern Conference, was the first year Aggression really started to pay off at the high school level, as Foster saw his team’s added depth. This year, the experienced Cogs should be deep as well.
“[Aggression] was a lot of help, and it helped a lot, because we were from with the same team,” G-K junior Abbey Rasmussen said. “So it helped us work a lot better outside of the season, too.”
Where as in the past, the Cogs’ players had little club experience coming into the season, now it’s something that’s plentiful among the roster, and players will go on to different clubs and get experience when they get into high school.
“A lot of people are taking more time,” Cogs junior Erika Hansel said. “Even when school season isn’t going on, we’re all training with different clubs and programs and stuff.”
At the lower levels, the talent level is looking up, as well. Foster said 48 middle schoolers showed up at tryouts this year, most of whom the staff was familiar with thanks to Aggression.
Foster said one reason for the success of the club, which in turn leads to success on the varsity level, is because of the affordability of it.
“Administration here is doing a real service ... to the club and the volleyball program by not charging for facilities,” Foster said. “We keep the costs way down and they’re getting the same experience they would at a different club for a fifth of the costs.”
Foster said this team is the most talented one he’s had at G-K. The players have started to see a better atmosphere around school, as well.
“The beginning of my sophomore year we had maybe 15 fans, and then we jump into my junior year and the stands were filled,” Cogs senior setter Breea Rogalla said. “Everyone was so vibrant and excited about coming to see us play, and I feel like that energy has transferred over into this year. It’s really exciting to see the school supporting us in such an amazing way.”