A new rivalry


Spencer Lanig coaches girls’ volleyball at Kirkwood and boys’ volleyball at Webster. Photo courtesy of Kendall Herweck.

It’s Oct. 16th: tournament day. From the girls on the court cheering, to parents jumping up and down, the gym is pulsating with energy. His team has won again (6-0), they are undefeated for the day. Spencer Lanig is the head Kirkwood girls JV volleyball coach and assistant Webster boys varsity volleyball coach. After playing high school and collegiate volleyball at St. Ambrose University, he decided to start coaching.

Lanig believes coaching runs in his family. After guiding volleyball at Fox High School for over twenty years, Ferrel Pounds, Lanig’s stepdad, is now the Kirkwood freshman girls volleyball coach. Wayne Pounds, Lanig’s grandfather, also coached Kirkwood volleyball. Lanig comes from a family that has coached both girls and boys volleyball. Throughout the years, he has realized they are not the same.

“Girls tend to be smarter when it comes to the game,” Lanig said. “Girls volleyball is a lot slower, which means they have more rallies back and forth. Boys want to put the ball down as hard and fast as they can. Girls also talk more and are more social than boys.” 

Lilian Lyons, sophomore and JV attacker, played on Lanig’s team. She said Lanig has helped her improve throughout the 2021 season. 

“I have become friends with freshmen [on JV] and have learned lots of volleyball skills that have helped me become a better player,” Lyons said. “Coach Spencer has done a good job of uniting the team. [He has done this] by making us do fun drills and letting us have time to bond.”

Andrew Wuebbeling, senior at Webster Groves High School, plays on Lanig’s boys team. He also said his [volleyball techniques have] improved over the past season with the help of Lanig’s coaching.  

“[Lanig] talks to me constantly during games,” Wuebbeling said. “[He is] always telling me [different strategies and ways] to improve.”

Spencer likes Webster more. Not only did he go there, but he told me. I made sure.

— Andrew Wuebbeling

Through his two years of coaching, Lanig said he has created memories with both his teams. He said that they both include times where hard work and dedication was shown on the court. 

“My favorite memory from coaching on the boys team was when we were the state runners up last year,” Lanig said. “That was super fun and the whole season was great. For the girls, going 6-0 in the Fox Tournament was the highlight of the year. 

Lyons said Lanig likes Webster more than Kirkwood, just because he is an alumni. Wuebbeling claims this is a proven fact. 

“Spencer likes Webster more,” Wuebbeling said. “Not only did he go there, but he told me. I made sure.”