Alsager finalizes SHS volleyball’s coaching staff

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(Photo courtesy of KAREN ALSAGER) From left to right, new Sandpoint volleyball JV II head coach Piper Wahlin, setting coach Julia Klontz and JV coach Savanna Lester pose with a photo of Sandpoint High School’s 2006 state champion volleyball team that Ward Tolbom gifted to the program. Sandpoint volleyball head coach Karen Alsager announced the hiring of all three women to their new head coaching positions on June 6.

Sandpoint volleyball head coach Karen Alsager is no stranger to rounding out her coaching staff.

As a prominent fixture in Sandpoint volleyball’s decorated lore, Alsager had a wide swath of former players, teammates and friends to call up in order to fill the program’s vacant assistant positions.

The two-time head volleyball coach announced the hirings of Piper Wahlin, Julia Klontz and Savanna Lester to the JV II, setting and JV coaching positions, respectively on June 6.

“I chose these coaches based on their knowledge of the game, the fact that they know and understand how I coach and that they are young, passionate and experienced,” Sandpoint volleyball head coach Karen Alsager wrote in an email.

Sandpoint volleyball’s coaching staff will be a reunion, of sorts. Alsager coached all three of her assistants, who were integral parts on either one or both of the Bulldogs’ 2006 and 2008 state title teams. Klontz, Wahlin and Lester have 33 years of combined playing experience in not only the Sandpoint system, but also on the collegiate level.

A two-time North Idaho volleyball Player of the Year, Wahlin (‘10) was part of both the ‘06 and ‘08 state championship teams, then played on scholarship at Weber State University for three years before a back injury curtailed her career. She will now coach the JV II team.

Wahlin is not the only one on staff with experience playing collegiately, however.

Lester (‘07) played women’s volleyball at nearby NAIA school Montana Tech a year after leading the Bulldogs to their thirteenth state title in 2006. Lester will now coach the JV team.

Her teammate on the 2006 state championship team Julia Klontz (neé Witte) will be the setting coach.

Alsager and her staff will inherit a varsity program that finished with a 21-11 record, an undefeated mark in league play and a first-round exit in the 4A Idaho State Volleyball Tournament. In order to chase after the program’s fifteenth state title, the Bulldogs will have to build around six of the 13 returners from last year’s team in the fall.

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