Kylie Gervasio has found her own on the court and in the school since joining the girls’ volleyball team.
Coming into the season, Whitman-Hanson Regional High girls’ volleyball head coach Ashley Balbian had a question mark penciled in for a key position — setter.
Little did she know that area of concern would be shored up by someone who last played competitively over 2,600 miles away in senior Kylie Gervasio.
Gervasio and her family moved from Whitman to Arizona when she was 10, only to return at the beginning of last year’s school year. Unfortunately for her, their move back occurred after tryouts so she missed the season.
For Gervasio, who played the sport throughout middle school and high school, not competing in nearly two years was tough, but when the season inched closer, she made sure to sharpen her skills.
“When I knew tryouts were coming up, I went out to the beach and volleyball courts with my best friend Jennifer and we practiced because she’s also a volleyball player and she helped me get back into it,” Gervasio said.
Balbian said Gervasio’s positive energy at tryouts caught her eye immediately and blended in with the rest of her returners.
“Even if she shanks a ball she’s still got a smile on her face,” Balbian said. “So right away I was like ‘I know I want her on my team.’”
That positive energy Gervasio and her Panthers teammates convey has made her joining the roster, which consists mostly of girls she had never met prior to tryouts, a seamless transition she said.
“Everybody here is so helpful and sweet,” said Gervasio, who has accumulated 93 assists in 24 sets. “Everyone is so cheerful and excited to play and always pumped up going to games. They made coming on to the team not feel weird.”
Joining the volleyball team has just provided it with a boost, but its benefited her as well.
“Being new and everything last year, I had trouble making friends,” Gervasio said. “Being on the volleyball team and everything, I’ve never felt more enjoyment in going to school.”
Balbian said the Panthers’ 3-2 victory over Hanover on Sept. 17 (14 assists) and their 3-1 loss to Hingham on Sept. 28 (15 assists) stick out among many strong efforts put forth by Gervasio. Balbian said she expects to see much of the same production from her senior as the season wears on.
“She’s really been a game-changer for us,” Balbian said. “I knew I had one setter coming into the season. I wasn’t sure who was going to be my backup setter so she came in as the backup and now is the starter. I think she really had taken on that leadership role the more comfortable she gets.”