Varsity Extra

With a reach of 10 feet, 4 inches, she can hit a volleyball hard enough to knock you out

Playing against one of the top club volleyball teams in the nation at the 2015 AAU Nationals in Orlando, Fla., Megan Yett hit a quick set from the middle so hard and so fast that the ball knocked out an opponent on the other side of the net.

After the match, a half-dozen college coaches came over to ask Idaho Crush coach Caroline Bower about the 6-foot-1 Yett, who was then just a freshman.

“We had all these college coaches surrounding the court, and they weren’t necessarily there watching us, they were watching that team that was so loaded,” Bower said. “But by her matching skill level for skill level with these top recruits, it was a statement.

“Who is this kid from Idaho? And from that, it was definitely a catalyst into her getting her name out.”

Now a senior at Nampa Christian High, ranks Yett as the nation’s 41st-best player in the 2018 class. She is committed to No. 12 Utah and had scholarship offers from teams representing every Division I conference in the country, Bower said.

So it’s not surprising that Yett and her Nampa Christian teammates are headed to state Friday in Rathdrum as the defending 2A champions.

What is surprising is the way the Trojans got there.

A few weeks into the high school season, Yett was diagnosed with a leg injury, and her doctor recommended she avoid jumping to allow the injury time to heal.

That meant no more front-row play for Yett, who had started at middle blocker for the Trojans since she was a freshman.

“I was so excited to see how well we would do this season and see how much we’ve improved,” said Yett, who has a reach of 10 feet, 4 inches (that’s higher than a basketball hoop). “Not being able to jump, it was kind of disappointing.”

Instead of beating teams at the net with her dominant hitting and blocking, Yett became a three-rotation defensive player in the back row. She says it gave her a chance to focus on her teammates, who found they could win without Yett getting the majority of the kills.

“I think our girls just rose to the occasion realizing, ‘Hey, it’s not just Megan anymore,’ ” Nampa Christian coach Curtis Johnson said. “We’ve got some great players here, and they were able to realize that.”

Even with Yett less than 100 percent, the Trojans kept their conference winning streak intact. They have not lost to a 2A Western Idaho Conference team in 4 1/2 years, and they won their seventh straight district title last week.

“I think it was a reminder that Megan’s a key part of our team, but she doesn’t define our team,” Nampa Christian senior libero Annetta de Jong said. “Obviously she’s super important, but we still know what we’re doing, and she’s still a leader no matter where she is on the court.”

Shortly before the district tournament, Yett was given the OK to begin jumping again. She felt a little off initially but has quickly returned to the hard-hitting form that got her noticed in the first place.

“It’s a blessing in disguise that Megan got hurt. It was exactly what the team needed. A coach could never write it up that way, but it couldn’t have happened any better, and we’re a better team because of it,” Johnson said. “I think we’re playing with a lot of confidence and a lot of confidence in each other, which is really important.”

Rachel Roberts: 208-377-6422, @byrachelroberts