Nov 18, 2013 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterKiley Ridgway, Riverton High School's fierce middle blocker, has been named the Fremont County volleyball Player of the Year by the sports staffs of The Ranger, The Lander Journal and the Wind River News.
Ridgway, a 6-foot junior, also picked as the Class 4-A West conference player of the year, was named to the Class 4-A all-state first team for the second time and to the Class 4-A West all-conference first team for the second time in her career.
Ridgway, who hopes to play volleyball in college, finished the season with 378 kills and 178 blocks, both team bests for the Lady Wolverines.
The Lady Wolverines finished the year in second place after the Class 4-A West regular season, placed fourth at their regional tournament in Riverton, and then lost a heartbreaking five set first-round match to Gillette before rebounding and placing fourth at last week's Class 4-A state tournament in Casper.
"I was really happy with how we played. We played great. We played together and communicated. It was fun to play. It was tough to know that we were not going to be in the championship, but I knew we would continue to play well," Ridgway said.
During the season, Ridgway thought her defensive play was where she made the most progress.
"I think I improved on my back row a lot. It has always been hard to teach myself to dive for balls, but I hope to keep improving on that, because I do enjoy playing back row. Middles don't play in the back row a lot, and I love playing back row," Ridgway said.
RHS head coach Adrian McNamee agreed.
"Her defense and all-around mentality as a player stepped up. She is a competitor. Every day in practice she was pushing herself and her team to get better. She is an athlete who truly wants her team to get better," McNamee said.
After a disappointing regional tournament where the Lady Wolverines had hoped to finish higher on their home court, Ridgway said her team was able to put the regional weekend behind them and get ready to play at their state tournament.
"It was kind of tough knowing that we would have to play the No. 1 seed. But it kind of motivated us in practice more.
"We worked extra hard in practice on the things that we needed to improve on," she said.
Besides focusing on the technical skills of volleyball, Ridgway believes the mental part of her game will be an area for growth.
"Mentally, sometimes I get down if I am having a bad game. And it does affect my team. I know that I need to swallow my pride, shake it off, and get the next one and do it for my team," Ridgway said.
Ridgway will play basketball for the Lady Wolverines this winter and then it will be back to the volleyball courts for the spring AAU volleyball season.
"This summer I will go to volleyball camps around the state and into Colorado and neighboring states, and get some exposure with new coaches and new colleges, and see what happens from there as I try to be the best volleyball player I can be," Ridgway said.
Ridgway said that she hasn't decided what she plans to pursue academically after her senior year, and only decided after summer volleyball camps and during this year's volleyball season that she wants to play volleyball in college.
"I love it. It would really be hard for me to say that my senior at state that I am playing my last game ever.
"I don't think I will be able to give up that part of me after high school," Ridgway said.
Ridgway is the daughter of Eric and Lori Ridgway of Riverton.
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