Curran improves game each of four prep seasons
By BRETT MARSHALL
Casey Curran didn't have all of her goals accomplished during her four-year high school volleyball career.
She didn't get her Garden City High School teammates to the Class 6A state tournament, which was at the top of her goal list.
Twice, the Lady Buffs missed as they lost in the sub-state championship match both her junior and senior seasons.
But under the guidance of coach Sara Stecki, the Lady Buffs, won back-to-back Western Athletic Conference titles, something the program hadn't accomplished since 2005.
"We didn't get everything accomplished, I really wanted us to go to state," said Curran, who was tabbed for the second consecutive season as The Telegram's Volleyball Player of the Year. "We had a rough ride at times, but it was all worth it. I had great teammates and I couldn't have asked for a better group of girls to play with. They became like family to me."
Curran, who was courted by a number of NCAA Division I and II programs, eventually settled on NJCAA powerhouse Iowa Western to continue her volleyball career.
"I couldn't have chosen a better place," Curran said of her college selection. "Their program, the campus were just what I was looking for. Sometimes, you go to a D-I school and it's not always a homey feel. I love the coaches and the players and I really think I'm going to enjoy it there."
There may be some players with more kills, there may be some with more digs, and some with more blocks and aces, but Curran perhaps epitomizes what her coach has said about being the best all-around player in the area.
Curran's statistics saw her record 246 kills, a 7.7 average, 303 assists (9.5 average) and 218 digs (7.0 average). In stepping up her overall game, Curran had 50 service aces and then had 77 solo blocks.
"I think I improved every year I played," Curran said. "My freshman year, I wasn't a main player and I think that was good for me. Early on, I wasn't very good at playing smart, but now I see the court better and I just improved every year."
Curran said one area that had been a point of emphasis was understanding team chemistry and its importance on the court.
"It's the key in any sport, but especially in volleyball," she said. "You've got to know the surroundings, the players next to you and then trust them. They trust you and you've got to have each other's back."
Curran said she was grateful that she had Stecki as her coach during her final two seasons of high school competition.
"She really pushed me during my two years and pushed me to be the best," Curran said of her coach. "We had to prove ourselves to her and I think we all just wanted to make he rproud of us. It was a really good relationship. I learned how to stay on my feet better and move to the ball faster."
Curran said she will stay busy in the "off-season" by playing club volleyball in Wichita and then preparing for her final softball season at GCHS in the spring.
"I'll work on my vertical jump to increase that and do some cross-fit training," Curran said. "Softball will help me stay in good shape."
Curran said that by transitioning back into becoming a setter, her overall game blossomed her final two seasons.
"You just see things differently when you're playing all the positions," Curran said. "It helps you become a better all-around player. The game slows down. Setting isn't an easy job. You've got to know your hitters and it's not the same for every hitter. It's the best feeling when one of the girls gets a hit."
Curran plans to pursue a career in nursing and she said Iowa Western also is a good fit for the academic goals she has established.