Kroll signs for Arizona’s Gila Monsters volleyball team

By 
Alastair Baker
News Editor
Thursday, March 4, 2021
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Courtesy photo
Signing for Eastern Arizona College is Kyra Kroll (center) with (left) Bridger Volleyball Assistant Coach Amy Goltz and (right) Bridger Volleyball Head Coach Lena Kallevig.

 

Bridger High School senior Kyra Kroll has signed on to play college volleyball at Eastern Arizona University with head coach Shari Kay. 

Kroll is a two-time All State selection and has helped the Lady Scouts finish 4th, 2nd, 2nd, and 1st at state in her four years as a starting Libero for the Lady Scouts. 

She was also part of the Bridger basketball team picking up another District Championship trophy recently. 

Kroll has led the team in digs and serve receive percentage (95%). 

“She is an amazing little athlete and will have no problem competing at the next level,” said Lena Kallevig, Bridger volleyball’s head coach. “Her passing accuracy is beyond valuable. Without her we would not have been as successful. She is great kid and I’m so excited for her.”

Head coach Kay of the Gila Monsters volleyball team offers up the same compliments when talking about Kroll, going even further.

“Aside from her volleyball skills, I think Kyra offers a competitive spirit, a “fight to win” attitude.  I also believe she will bring a positive attitude and hard work ethic.  I am also excited for Kyra to share her “good person” qualities.  Those off- the -court character traits are so important to my program,” said Kay.

Kay is impressed by Kyra’s composure on the floor.

“She doesn’t seem to get rattled and she seems to keep trying to win even when things are looking tough,” she said.  

Kroll fell under Kay’s radar after a fellow coach and friend, Brian Solomon from Montana Tech, reached out to Kay and said “some great things about her.”

“I guess he had coached her at a few camps he put on for them.  This was around the end of October/Early November,” said Kay.

As for Kroll herself the opportunity means a lot.

“I think this is a very exciting opportunity. I have worked very hard over the last 4 years, and it has paid off. I love to travel and enjoy seeing new and different places. I now have that opportunity, and I get to do it playing the sport I love the most. I can’t wait to experience an entirely different climate than Montana,” she said 

The leap from Bridger to Arizona is a big one and Kroll admits to being “a little nervous” at first.  

However the more she talked to the coach, looked at the campus and the area around it, the more she realized it would be just fine.  

“The Thatcher area is actually very similar to Bridger. Well, except for population and weather,” she said. 

Kroll signed for Arizona because she had a “really good feeling about Coach Kay.”  

“It helps that they have the classes I will need for my degree!  Those credits will be able to be transferred anywhere.  It just seemed like it would be a really good fit for me. I like the area surrounding the college. I don’t think it is too big and it will be much easier for me to get started and really get a feel for what college life is like,” said  Kroll. “Coach Kay reached out to me through text and said that she really liked the skills I had, and she believed that I would make a great addition to her team. I knew right away from talking to her that I was the kind of player she was looking for.”

For Kroll the move is a no-brainer and compared Coach Kallevig’s style to Coach Kay’s.

“She reminds me a lot of Coach Kallevig. She was always super open, honest, and easy to talk to so I immediately took a liking to her,” said Kroll.  “She seems to care so much about the girls on her team and is so supportive of them. I believe she will push me to be better and will help me in perfecting my skills.  We will pick up right where Coach Lena left off.”  

 

Kroll doesn’t have any family connections to Eastern Arizona, but does have cousins a couple of hours away. 

“The family I am leaving here is only a flight away, so that makes it easier also. I am also looking forward to making my team and my coach “family” as we will be spending so much time together. I’m sure there will be other girls who are away from their families as well,” said Kroll.

The “family” philosophy runs deep with Coach Kay.

“A big part of my coaching philosophy is having a family atmosphere.  We don’t just talk about it….. we live it!  I know with a lot of girls being far from home – some very very far  (I often time have international kids)….. that they need more than just a “coach” and that often times requires me to be a mom away from home,” said Kay.  “But I really and truly do love my girls! I will do what ever it takes to help my players succeed. She will have plenty of help and assistance from myself, coaching staff, team-mates, trainers, counselors, tutors.”

Kroll is heading to play in one of the toughest conference/regional leagues in the nation.

“We work hard in practice – she will learn, cope, and grow naturally by my demands in practice and simply by playing and competing with her team,” said Kay.

If there is one thing about Kroll, she is up for the challenge.

“I will be able to bring really good defensive coverage. I have worked really hard honing the libero skill over the last 4 years.  I am able to read the ball well and predict its path. Over my high school years, I have had a mid 90 percent serve receive.  During my junior and senior years, I had over 800 digs. I am always trying to uplift other players and be positive. I want to help make us all better so we can thrive as a team,”she said.

Kroll gave some final thoughts on Coach  Kalevig and the Lady Scouts.

“When we were in the 5th grade all of the girls in my class wanted to start an AAU program, which Coach Lena helped to set up.  This has helped all of us to elevate our game. Through AAU we were able to play against some bigger schools and have tougher competition.  This opportunity made us that much better. My team has taught me so much and I am very thankful that I got to play with them for all of these years. It has been so much fun traveling with them and going to all of the games and tournaments. They have so much talent and I can’t wait to see where they are all going to go,” she said.  

“I am so lucky to have gone through this journey with this group of girls.  Lena has been with us as a coach since the 6th grade. She has always been there for us and we all grew together in some way over the years. She is always pushing us to be better at every single practice and game. She is willing to help us out with anything. She pushed me to be better and do better.  I am so thankful to have been able to play for her,” said Kroll. 

Kroll will continue on as a libero or a defensive specialist. 

She will be taking classes to work her way towards a degree in Zoology or Wildlife Biology, but hasn’t decided on any minors yet. 

 

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