INDEPENDENCE – The reason Kylie Nash plays setter is the same reason she plays point guard and catcher.
Central High School’s standout senior athlete wants to be constantly involved.
From the volleyball season to the basketball season to the softball season, she is a constant buzz of motion, hopping from one sport to the next to the next.
And she’s good at them all.
“Basketball it’s kind of always been my favorite,” Nash says. “I would describe it as volleyball’s the funnest. Basketball’s like my favorite because of how intense it is. And I just like catching so I play softball.”
In her junior year, for example, she was second-team all-Mid-Willamette Conference in volleyball and first-team all-league in basketball and softball.
Nash started playing volleyball in the seventh grade because she was bored with soccer.
She thinks some of her skills from softball transferred over.
The 5-foot-7 Nash, of course, she was good at it right away.
“That’s one thing about her is that she’s a leader and she’s like an extension of me out there,” said Central coach Claudine Mendazona, who is returning for her 17th season. “But she’s not afraid to tell people, give them direction on the court.
“She’s good at it. You need those kinds of leaders on the court.”
The offense Mendazona runs at Central is complex.
The setter has a lot of responsibility in the offense, something Nash welcomes.
“You have to know when to transition and then when there’s a bad pass you still have to give a good set and those kinds of things,” Nash said. “So it has its challenges, but I like it. It’s more involved than other positions so it’s naturally been my favorite.”
The one sport Nash has yet to try, and wants to, is lacrosse.
There’s something about wielding a big stick that appeals to her.
“You have no idea. I wish I did,” she said. “You can be so rough. It can be so much fun.”
It makes sense when you consider that while growing up she played on a travelling boys basketball team based out of Dallas.
It doesn’t matter the opponent or the venue, Nash is game for anything.
“It was funny,” said the fourth of six children. “Before games they would always be like, ‘Oh my God, there a girl on the team.’ I would be like, ‘You just wait.'”
Nash wants to be a doctor someday so she plans on studying for a medical degree.
But playing sports, especially basketball, in college is also a priority.
“I’m definitely going to go D3 so it will allow me to play two sports and get the education I want,” Nash said. “I kind of have roughly eight schools I’m definitely going to apply to. Then I’ll kind of pick after that.”
Besides basketball, volleyball could be the sport she continues playing after high school, or maybe softball.
“With a little bit of work and if she had the interest there, I think she could probably play small college ball,” Mendazona said. “But I also know she has some interest in playing basketball. She’s athletic and smart and those are two of the things you really need to move on.”
When she talks about staining a fence or how she could beat her big brother, Trevor, at basketball, she is in a near constant state of giggling.
But when she puts on a uniform, that changes.
“If you see me on a basketball court I’m beyond serious,” she said. “Other than that, I’m not serious. A big test I’m serious. If it’s go time I’m serious.”
bpoehler@StatesmanJournal.com, (503) 399-6701 or Twitter.com/bpoehler
Greater Valley Conference
Coach: Scott Coons, first year
2014 record: 4-17 overall, 3-13 GVC
Outlook: The Royal Scots have a new coach again, this time in former club volleyball coach Scott Coons.
Coach: Kellie Scholl, fourth year
2014 record: 19-8 overall, 13-3 GVC, lost in consolation round of 6A state tournament
Madi Hingston, Sr., OH: A stellar all-around player, she was a first-team all-league player as a junior.
Madison Cloyd, Sr., S: A returning starter at setter and one of the top players in the league.
Outlook: The Celtics have a experienced group of seniors including Kylie Gilmore, Vanessa Hayes, Kaelie Flores and Reina Strand and a talented group of juniors including Shaylee Williams, Sydney Hunter and Jaylene Montano and will contend for the GVC championship.
Coach: Sara Stringer, second year
2014 record: 3-18 overall, 0-16 GVC
Laura Gross, Jr., OH: A three-year varsity player and an all-league player as a sophomore.
Marta Jantzi, Fr., MB: A young player with a lot of potential.
Outlook: The Vikings were senior heavy last season, but should get a lot of offensive production from their younger players this season.
Coach: Matt Leichty, sixth year
2014 record: 18-8 overall, 12-4 GVC, lost in first round of 6A state playoffs
Selbie Christensen, So., OH: A strong contributor as a freshman, she has the size and ability to be a force in the league.
Simone Leaks, Sr., MB: A big hitting option in the middle, she will be a bigger part of the offense this year.
Outlook: The Saxons have a strong sophomore class and several upperclassmen who will make the team a contender for a state playoff spot again.
Coach: Anne Olsen, fifth year
2014 record: 14-14 overall, 7-9 GVC, lost in second round of 6A state playoffs
Emily Rabe, Sr., OH/MB: A returning starter and a strong offensive player.
Outlook: The Olympians were senior loaded last year, but have some developing talent and should contend for a state playoff spot.
Coach: Katie Herber, fourth year
2014 record: 10-13 overall, 8-8 GVC, lost in first round of 6A state playoffs
Paige Whipple, Jr., OH: A two-time first-team all-league player who has committed to play volleyball in college at Arizona.
Kasey Campbell, Jr., OH: An honorable mention all-league player as a sophomore.
Outlook: The Titans have no seniors, but a strong and deep junior class has the players to make the team a contender in the league.
The rest of the GVC: West Albany should be a contender for a state playoff spot.
Mid-Willamette Conference: Lebanon won the league last year, returns three first-team all-league players and has the talent to win it again. Central returns starters including Kylie Nash, Jori Kerr, Krista Omlid and Zoey Fainsworth. Coach Claudine Mendazona, who coached the team to the 4A state championship in 2008, returns to lead the team.
Oregon West Conference: Cascade has dominated the league in recent years, but Newport is the favorite to win the league. Stayton returns seniors Alexis Keim and Madison Anderson and has a new coach in Darrell Mooers and should be more competitive.
West Valley League: Santiam Christian won the Class 3A state championship last year and was hit hard by graduation and the loss of coach Kim McLain, but he Eagles return senior Rachel Boyer and should be competitive. Dayton should be improved and a state playoff contender this season.
PacWest Conference: Salem Academy won the conference last year and has a strong sophomore class of athletes who should make the team a contender again. Blanchet returns Nikki Halfman, Johanna Counts, Rachel Howard and Lani Salang, but has a young group that should be competitive.
Tri-River Conference: Kennedy is the defending league champion, but graduated a big senior class. Western Mennonite should be a contender in the league with an influx of talent including Maddie and Peyton Hopper and Savannah Dorsey-DuQuesne transferring from West Salem and Brittney Freeman transferring from McMinnville and a new coach in Rory Rush. St. Paul returns seniors Cameron Stone, Emma Coleman, Sydney Brentano, McGwire Smith and Cassidy Merten and should be in contention for a state playoff spot.
Casco League: The league will be an interesting mix with Perrydale dropping back down to 1A. Willamette Valley Christian and Crosshill Christian were state playoff teams last year and should contend for the top spot in the league with Country Christian.