At just 5 feet 11 inches, sophomore Cole Kowalski is not your prototypical outside hitter.
However, Catalina is not your prototypical boys volleyball team.
With just two seniors and only one player over 6 feet, Kowalski and the Trojans are still managing to find success.
Catalina will face many of Southern Arizona's top teams at this weekend's 15-team Foothills Invitational. The team will try to build off its TUSD Invitational showing; it advanced to the championship match before losing to Catalina Foothills.
The Star recently sat down with Kowalski to find out more.
Position change. Kowalski is one of the state's best at putting away points; he averages three kills per set.
It wasn't like that last year.
He moved from setter to outside hitter this season to give his team a boost. Kowalski averaged double digits in assists last year but may not record 10 all season at his current rate.
"We've asked him to move out of his comfort zone because we really need him to score points," coach Heather Moore-Martin said.
Familiar name. If the name Kowalski sounds familiar, that's because Cole's brother, Cooper, also played for the Trojans. Cooper Kowalski was an outside hitter on Catalina's state championship squads in 2010 and 2011.
"I just want to be better than him," Cole said. "It's always something to look up to and push hard for."
Cooper also not only introduced Cole to the game in junior high but is also one of his biggest inspirations. Cole uses his brother's techniques and tries to carry the same attitude.
"His brother did a really good job of not only being a leader for the team but being that sparkplug the team needed," Moore-Martin said. "That was Cooper's great example to Cole."
New to the game. Kowalski has been around Moore-Martin and the program for six years, but has only been playing for three.
Kowalski has thrived since making volleyball his main focus; he even plays some sand volleyball.
Kowalski is tied for first on the team in kills, and is second in digs and blocks. He credits the two-man style of sand volleyball for helping him accelerate his overall skill set.
"Every aspect of sand improves your game on court," Kowalski said. "With only two people, you have to be able to do it all."
If you go
• What: Foothills Invitational featuring 15 teams
• Where: Catalina Foothills
• When: Today, 11 a.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m.