HS volleyball: Oakland named All-Conference

Star Staff Writer

There doesn’t seem to be an off-season for Kyra Oakland.

Oakland, a junior at Custer County District High School, recently completed her volleyball season. Now she’s turned her attention to basketball. And she’s contemplating track next spring, which usually is her time off from sports.

Oakland, named to the Eastern A All-Conference second team in a vote of the volleyball coaches, was somewhat soured when the Cowgirls didn’t make it to the state tournament.

“The biggest disappointment was losing the way we did. The season was rough,” Oakland said. “It was just hard (to take).”

So hard that she isn’t certain she’ll play as a senior in 2018.

“I don’t know yet,” she said. “Basketball is my favorite sport — by a long shot. If I didn’t play volleyball, I’d concentrate on basketball all year, but I’d also go out for track as a senior.”

She had played a hectic AAU schedule last summer and was eager for the 2017-18 school year, during which the 5-foot-11 leaper became the top hitter for the Cowgirls.

Even though the losses mounted and the Cowgirls went 0-2 in the Eastern A Divisional, thus not advancing to state, there were bright moments during the season. The glow in her eyes and foot-stomping while celebrating aces, kills and diving digs were hard to ignore and would be missed.

“It’s always a thrill when I get a good set and getting a (diving dig),” Oakland said.

She was the lone Cowgirl honored on the first two teams. Autumn Porter, her teammate, was accorded honorable mention.

First-year CCDHS coach Kodi Malnaa applauded the efforts of both Oakland and Porter.

“Both girls played in every single regular season game, and were put into positions outside of their comfort zones,” Malnaa said. “They had  a lot of pressure placed upon them a lot of times. Kyra stepped up to be a leader on the court and never quit playing. She was eager and had the competitive drive that was needed to make things happen.”

Porter also became a solid hitter later in the season, often joining Oakland as leading hitters.

“Autumn took a little longer to come on in the season,  but stepped up when our team was plagued with illnesses and continued to be a key asset to our team,” Malnaa said. “I moved Autumn into a role she was not very experienced at, and she stepped up and did what the team needed her to do and did a fantastic job for us in the middle and kept a smile on her face while doing it.

“Both are all-around players, and made key plays in the front and back row. They made things happen when we needed them.”

(Contact Abe Winter at starcity@midrivers.com or 406-234-0450.)