Julia Kane is one of two freshmen on the Lakers varsity volleyball team at Windermere Prep. A natural leader on the court, Kane is not only a strong defender playing libero, she’s also valued as a strong and accurate hitter and is considered a well-rounded player overall.
When did you start playing volleyball and how did you get into it?
I started playing when I was 6. My sister played at a club and I was always there, and I always would watch all the time. So, I wanted to start to play and I started playing … and I just kept going.
What’s your favorite thing about playing volleyball at Windermere Prep?
I like the community, because all the girls — even though they’re older than me — it’s like a family, because the older girls … try to encourage the younger girls. We also practice with the JV and freshmen sometimes, so it’s really great for the varsity (girls) to get to encourage the younger players. … It’s like one big team. It’s one big family.
Have you always played libero?
I played libero when I was younger just because of my height, and as I got older, even though I was short, I was a pretty good hitter, so I started hitting again. And then (other) girls just kept growing, so I went back to libero.
Do you have a preferred position on the team? Why is it your preferred position?
I like playing libero just because you’re the defensive captain, and in defense, it’s very (active). You just have to go. You can’t even think about it. It’s just all about effort, and if you have good effort, you’ll pretty much get every ball up.
What’s your favorite thing about playing libero?
You have to constantly be engaged. You can never stop. You’re always moving (and) it’s very fast-paced. When someone hits the ball straight down and they get super excited, but you pop it back up — it’s the best feeling.
Is there anything about the way you play that you hope to work on this year?
I think I’m very outgoing and energized, but I can lose focus when I make an error just because I get in my own head, so I think (working on) shaking it off and keeping my focus.
Do you have any goals for this season individually and for the team?
As a team, obviously we want to win states and, from this point, go undefeated. I think, for me, (I want) to improve on my serve receive, and just getting high stats in serve receive.
What’s the best piece of advice a coach has given you?
I think what (Coach Christian Koch) always says to me when I’m getting in my own head is, “Think of something that makes you happy.” It’s just volleyball. It’s just a game. It’s supposed to be fun, and just think of something that makes your happy; think of your favorite sandwich.
What’s your favorite memory from a game?
From this season, we played Olympia (High) last night, and we lost in five, but we had one set where we crushed them. We all were just playing (with) no worries and just having fun, cheering and we played so well. That was really fun.
Do you have an pre- or post-game traditions?
(Playing) at home, we go into a room (in the gym) and we do a little chant. … We do that every game.
Is there a particular game you’re excited for this year?
I’m excited for (the game against) Windermere High just because they’re obviously our rival. They’re the big public school near us, and they’re a really, really strong team, so I think it would be fun.
What are some ways you excell off of the volleyball court?
In middle school, I always (had) straight As, and I was in (National) Junior Honors Society. And then this year, I’m taking all honors classes. Academically, I try to take the hardest classes I can.
What’s your favorite subject in school?
I like english.
How do you spend your free time off the volleyball court and outside of school?
There’s not much free time, but (I like) hanging out, going on the lake — I like to paddleboard and kayak — and I also like to draw and paint.