Regina senior Olivia Wolfe celebrates against Tipton. Photo by Darren Miller. By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Over the past three seasons there has been no questions and no surprises when it comes to the top hitting option in the Regina attack.
With more than 1,000 career kills to her credit, senior Sarah Lehman has been the center piece of the Regina offense and the focal point of opposing defenses.
The question Regina head coach Kara Kimm had when she took over the program three seasons ago was who would step up as the hitter opposite Lehman.
Olivia Wolfe has answered that question.
Over the past two seasons Wolfe has emerged as a second hitting threat for Regina (21-13) and ranks second on the team behind Lehman with 176 kills this season entering Tuesday’s Class 2A, Region 7 opening round matchup with Lisbon (12-14).
“We knew that a lot of teams would be targeting Sarah and you know that the stronger teams have two solid outsides,” Kimm said. “I was just waiting for Olivia to step up and have the confidence in herself to be that next best hitter and she has.”
The 5-foot-8 Wolfe was playing in the middle when Kimm arrived prior to her sophomore season.
Midway through that year Wolfe switched to the outside and began to show promise as a player that could compliment the explosive Lehman.
Wolfe had her breakthrough as an outside hitter last season when she hammered 214 kills.
The success for Wolfe came as a surprise to some opponents and even to herself.
“I’ve surprised myself a lot,” Wolfe said. “I think it’s benefitted us that I came out as a more of a surprise than anything else. Teams aren’t looking for it and I love that I can be that player that surprises people.”
The production from Wolfe may surprise opponents keying on Lehman but it hasn’t surprise her coach.
“I’ve always thought she was capable but those kids that are behind the shadow of the superstar tend to just stay in the shadows and I just kept waiting for her to say, ‘hey I’m good too’,” Kimm said. “Last year at the end of the year she was really coming on strong and she has had a solid, solid year.”
Following her breakthrough season last year Wolfe worked on getting stronger during the offseason.
As practice started she began working on her connection with senior setter Grace Swenning, the back row players at Regina and Lehman.
That extra work has paid off this season.
“Sarah and I are very close, we balance off of each other,” Wolfe said. “It takes a lot of connection to really get an offense going. I feel like if Sarah and I, if we can balance off of each other and really have that energy between us it’s a great thing.”
A year ago Wolfe was limited to one shot as she made the transition to outside hitter.
This season Kimm has seen the senior broaden her offensive attacks, making her even tougher to defend.
“She only had kind of one shot last year and she didn’t have as much success and this year we are really trying to get her on right side and in the middle,” Kimm said. “She’s quick and she is a very versatile threat.”
Wolfe plans to continue her volleyball career next year at Marshalltown Community College but first plans to help Regina make a postseason push.
With a win on Tuesday the Regals would face River Valley Conference rival West Branch in the Region 7 quarterfinals.
“I feel like we are all going to need to play 100 percent to get to where we need to be, where I know that we can do because I know that we can do great things,” Wolfe said. “Everyone just needs to believe in each other.”