Familiarity is strength behind Franklin girls volleyball team

Benjamin Franklin’s volleyball seniors have been playing together for many years. (Special to Independent Newspapers)

 

Benjamin Franklin High School’s volleyball Class of 2018 all have one thing in common: They’ve been at the varsity level since they all were in eighth grade.

Brian Farr has been coaching the high school team the past two years. The fact they’ve played together for so long — and know each other so well — is a strength few other teams can claim.

“One of the coolest things was the camaraderie was already built,” the head coach said. “And also they had experience with each other, so they had already started growing as a team.”

“For some of us, it’s even been since seventh grade,” senior McKenna Whipple said. “Just being able to play with them for that long, you get used to how the flow of the plays work. And not just that, our flow has gotten better over the years.”

Benjamin Franklin High School is at 18864 E. Germann Road in Queen Creek.

Emily Kost, was on the Benjamin Franklin JV team originally, she said.

“I came up a year later,” she said. “I feel like I’ve been with them just as long.”

McKenna has known some of the girls since she was 9 years old, just from attending Ben Franklin, 18864 E. Germann Road, or through her church’s activities.

“They’re good people. They’re such good-hearted souls,” she said. “Just knowing them longer and knowing they’re good people makes it easier to play with them and get along with them.”

McKenna said it all really came together near the end of the season when they captured gold in the Florence tournament.

“It was just great not only because we had the support of our parents who attended, but we had Florence High School themselves join in the cheering because they were part of the tournament, but were eliminated.”

“We had the entire Florence bench behind our bench cheering,” Coach Farr said. “It was quite the event.”

During that tournament, Emily said she thought there was a good chance the team could go far in the playoffs.

“I just had so much faith in our team,” she said.

The team won its region and got a first-round bye in the playoffs before falling to Odyssey Institute. This was the first time in the school’s history that a team won its region, 3A Central.

“We had an off day,” Coach Farr said.

The team is losing six of its players to graduation.

“It’s been a fun team to coach,” said Coach Farr.

Emily said she is currently being recruited to play beach volleyball, but has not made any official announcements.

“I have talked to colleges about volleyball, but I have decided to do an LDS mission after high school instead,” McKenna said.

“After high school I will be working, saving up money and going on a mission and going to college after that.”

Reporter Arianna Grainey can be reached at 623-445-2717, via e-mail agrainey@newszap.com or on twitter at ariannagrainey.

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