Setter's fulfillment grows with experience
Kaete Johnson took over as starting setter for Peabody-Burns volleyball four years ago and has experienced growing pains alongside her team as they struggled to improve.
“It was kind of hard,” she said. “It was frustrating because we were putting in all this work but it wasn’t clicking yet. Every year it’s gotten a little better. Last year I felt like it finally clicked, and we were super excited.”
The players she started with as a freshman spent a lot of time learning the sport’s fundamentals and growing their desire to win. Johnson sees that boost now in the team’s increased practice intensity.
“It feels really good,” she said. “It lets you know everything the coaches have you do and all the work you’re putting in, it’s paying off and it’s for a reason. It’s nice to see the results already.”
Playing setter meant Johnson consistently was on-court for a majority of every match, which helped her grow as a player.
“It pushes you a lot,” she said. “My freshman year, I don’t think I was prepared for how much I was going to have to step up. It pushes you to be a lot better. I think that if I wasn’t a setter, I wouldn’t be as good a volleyball player, or even a leader.”
After graduating five seniors last year, the Warriors are helping several young players quickly gain experience so they can be assets to the team.
“There’s a good sole leader in every class,” she said. “It’s just us giving our advice to the next class and so on, so they know how they’re supposed to lead the younger team. Let them know even though sometimes practice sucks, it’s worth it.”
Johnson feels extra pressure to find success because this is her last season in high school. Instead of shying away from those demands, she tries to embrace them.
“I have to fulfill that role,” she said. “Otherwise they’re not going to have anyone.”
Even though players change over time, Johnson thinks many teams have qualities that remain consistent and she is able to adjust her strategy when she faces them.
“I think a lot of it is how they’re coached, but a lot of teams stay with the same mentality,” she said. “Different teams are extremely scrappy, so we have to be prepared for that. Other teams hit really hard.”
Last modified Sept. 30, 2020