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Athlete Spotlight: Home-schooled Kayla Mulder good fit with Whitehall volleyball team

The 5-foot-10 senior outside hitter is a six-rotation player for the Vikings.

WHITEHALL — Like a basketball player who grows up as a point guard then experiences a growth spurt, Kayla Mulder began her volleyball career as a libero then shot up five inches.

What coach Ted Edsall saw in Mulder at Inside Out Volleyball club was a taller, skilled player.

“In the fall, she was a libero on the 16s team and I had the 16s team in the winter, I go, ‘You’re a pretty (tall) kid. You want to come and hit?’ (She replied) ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah,'” Edsall recalled. “So she had a really good year (in club volleyball) and that was her sophomore year.

“In the fall, I get a call from her parents, ‘Yeah, we live in Whitehall.’ Never knew that.”

Brad and Julie Mulder home-school their daughters, 17-year-old Kayla and 14-year-old Annaleigh.

Edsall, also the head volleyball coach at Whitehall High School, said the Mulders completed all the paperwork required for their daughters to play an organized sport at Whitehall.

Kayla Mulder joined Whitehall’s volleyball team as a junior last fall and she’s now in her second season. The 5-foot-10 outside hitter is a six-rotation player, which Edsall said is hard to come by. Annaleigh Mulder is a freshman setter on Whitehall’s junior varsity volleyball team.

This season, Kayla Mulder has totaled 330 kills, 395 digs, 105 assists, 55 aces, and 17 blocks.

Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark

“She can pass and she’s one of the better attackers, I think, in our conference,” Edsall said. “She’s had to get used to a little back-row play, her and Ari (Black) both, but she’s a pretty dynamic kid.”

At 14-26 overall, Whitehall’s volleyball team has not quite enjoyed the success it would have liked, but the Vikings have played a challenging schedule and they are hosting a Division 2 district next week.

Whitehall takes on Montague in a district opener at 6 p.m. Monday (Oct. 30). Montague defeated Whitehall at Whitehall early in the season, then the Wildcats edged them early in the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association tournament at Mona Shores.

Mulder attends classes at Muskegon Community College and she expects to complete her Associate’s Degree this fall.

During her freshman and sophomore years, Mulder played home-school volleyball with a team out of Grand Rapids called Rivertown Christian. At Inside Out, she played with Whitehall’s Arianna Black and Sidney Shepherd.

Edsall said that Mulder, who intends on playing volleyball at Concordia University, is very social and fits in well with her Whitehall teammates. She’ll attend football games and other gatherings.

“(Kayla and Annaleigh Mulder are) involved with so many activities like club volleyball that they’re out a lot,” Edsall said.

“(Kayla’s) funny, she’s quiet. She’s got a good sense of humor. She’s not a rah-rah, outgoing kid, but she’s pretty witty.”

Photo by Courtney Jimison | CatchMark

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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