Hankoff’s return suits Vikings | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Hankoff’s return suits Vikings

Jared Green

Dan Thrift/Tahoe Daily Tribune Returning South Tahoe High School varsity volleyball coach Gary Hankoff works with his setters before the start of regular practice recently at STHS.

When Gary Hankoff decided to leave the South Tahoe High volleyball program in 2003 due to job commitments, he didn’t know if he’d return. He’s back this year, but the team he inherits is almost completely new.

“I think it’s the best thing that could of happened to us … it’s what we needed,” said STHS senior middle blocker Kim Krouskoupf. “We’re progressing with each practice.”

Hankoff is glad to make the transition from coaching a high-profile club team to his favorite high school team.

“This is a relief from what I just got done with … With the club team there was so much pressure,” Hankoff said.

Last season’s team was laden with seniors, and the best underclassman, junior Monica Knight, has transferred after earning all-league honors last year.

Although Hankoff is familiar with most of this season’s players from coaching them as eighth-graders, he doesn’t know how they’ll react to the pressure of varsity ball.

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“We have a bunch of talented girls who can do a whole lot. I think everyone is gong to be part of the wins this year,” said Krouskoupf, a second-year varsity player.

The 2003 team lost in the first round of zone playoffs, but Hankoff thinks this year’s team can go farther in a watered-down Sierra Division. Traditional powers Douglas and Carson are both introducing new coaches and Hankoff knows many of the league’s best players thanks to coaching club in the Reno area.

“I know the teams to beat and the league is very winnable,” Hankoff said. “I coach most of the best players in the league, so I know what to expect.”

The Vikings will be one of the smaller teams in the Sierra Division, but Hankoff thinks they can compensate with speed and defense.

“We’re very athletic, but we don’t have a lot of size,” he said. “I like that. We’ll have to be defensive-minded, and that’s where we’ll concentrate most of our training.”

Two of Hankoff’s best players, setter Stephanie Morrow and middle blocker Jessica Bettencourt, are strong defenders and should anchor the squad. Morrow was named second-team all-league last year, while Bettencourt received honorable mention.

– Tribune Sports Editor Steve Yingling contributed to this story.

2004 South Tahoe Schedule

Date Opponent Time

Sept. 7 DAMONTE 6 p.m.

Sept. 9 At Reed 6 p.m.

Sept. 14 At Reno 6 p.m.

Sept. 16 WOOSTER 6 p.m.

Sept. 21 DOUGLAS 6 p.m.

Sept. 23 At Carson 6 p.m.

Sept. 28 At N. Valleys 6 p.m.

Sept. 30 HUG 6 p.m.

Oct. 7 RENO 6 p.m.

Oct. 12 At Wooster 6 p.m.

Oct. 14 At Douglas 6 p.m.

Oct. 19 CARSON 6 p.m.

Oct. 21 N. VALLEYS 6 p.m.

Oct. 26 At Hug 6 p.m.

Oct. 29 WHITTELL 6 p.m.

Nov. 2 Regionals TBA

Nov. 11 State TBA