Erin Gillcrist led LHS with 359 kills in 2015.

With the 2016 CHSAA volleyball season heating up, one particular team team to keep an eye on is Lakewood. Though the Tigers are just outside the preseason 5A Top Ten in the “receiving votes” category, but don’t sleep on LHS, as the team returns a majority of key contributors from last season’s 16-8 campaign.

Though Lakewood graduated libero Emma Gerali (453 digs) and setter Sam Einsphar (472 assists), this fall’s squad is highlighted by senior outside hitter/setter Erin Gillcrist. The San Diego State commit racked up a team-leading 359 kills in 2015 in addition to 42 aces, 47 blocks and 197 digs.

Other key contributors for the Tigers include senior middle blocker Ty Stiller (146 kills, 71 blocks), senior libero Celeste Barron-Nicoletti (203 digs), senior outside hitter Michelle Rugh (127 kills) and junior outside hitter Avery Hughes (104 kills) for a team under new leadership in first-year coach Chris Jonson.

The Colorado Sports Network caught up with Gillcrist to get the 4-1-1 on this year’s team, why the senior decided SDSU was the best fit for her, her role in LHS’ 6-2 offense, the Tigers’ ultimate ambitions for Jeffco League and postseason play, and much more. The full one-on-one:

For more insight into Lakewood and other 5A programs, listen to the Varsity Wire podcast: