A wealth of experience returns for sixth-year Salina Central volleyball coach Traci Pfeifer.
The Mustangs have five senior starters returning, and total players who saw time last year back.
“We should have very good leadership,” Pfeifer said. “These seniros are driven with this being their last year. We have our setter coming back and we have a good part of our offense coming back.”
The leadership starts with seniors Shaelyn Martin, Paige Johnson, Allie Nowlin, Tara Bradley, Brooke Peters and Emily Wood. Juniors Bailey Drive and Marysa Bradshaw, along with sophomore Keisha Hamilton return as well.
Pfeifer also says freshman Bailey Petty could see time this year.
Pfeifer said her team must improve its blocking.
“We hope to be bigger on the right side this year to help with blocking,” Pfeifer said. “We need to work on serving more aggressively and that has been a priority over the summer. As our blocking gets better, then I think our defense is going to really improve.”
Pfeifer said the Mustangs want a high seed in sub-state and to be competitive in the league. She believes both goals are attainable, if the Mustangs go “one game at a time.”
“We are not going to overlook anyone,” Pfeifer said. “We need to win games and set ourselves up for a good sub-state seed. We have a tough league but I think a realistic goal is to finish at the top of our league.”
The Mustangs opened the season 4-2 at the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League preseason tournament in Hutchinson on Saturday.
Salina Central lost to Andover 25-18, 25-17, and McPherson 25-19, 25-20. The Mustangs then won the next four, winning 25-15, 25-7 against Salina South, 25-22, 25-7 against Andover Central, 25-13, 25-21 against Campus, and 25-18, 25-16 against Newton.
Martin had 76 kills and 43 assists on the day. Wood tallied 45 service points and 72 assists. Brooke Peters had 28 kills and 39 digs while Paige Johnson came up with 26 kills and 56 digs.