With the first match slated for Thursday, the Greenbrier High School volleyball team will quickly find out if it is reloading or rebuilding.
The Lady Wolfpack are coming off a 2012 season in which they went 38-2, won the Area 2-AAAAA title and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA state tournament.
They lost five seniors from that team, including their top server, setter and hitter, but return senior captain Gabbi Meyering, junior DeJhana Cotton, the Area 2-AAAAA Player of the Year, and junior Lauren Ingalls.
“We did have a career year, but we always strive for that,” said head coach Debbie Born. “We’ll strive for that again this year, so the expectations aren’t any lower. Last year we just fine-tuned, this year we have to do a little bigger tuning. They know what they have to do. They know we have to gel as a group.”
Meyering, who was third on the team in kills in 2012, thinks the Lady Wolfpack will have another successful year.
“As long as we keep working hard, I think it will be a good season,” Meyering said. “There’s a lot of potential, I think, at this point. When people ask me how do I think it’s going to go compared to last year, it’s a completely different team. We only have three returning players and everyone else is new.”
Tryouts began Thursday and end Monday, with Born expecting at least 40 players on the court vying for 10 slots on the varsity squad. Cotton knows the returners are the ones who will have to lead the way.
“I think that we all just have to step up and help the rest of the girls get used to playing on varsity and at a higher level,” Cotton said.
Ingalls didn’t see much court time as a sophomore with senior Hayley Hughes running the show in the middle, setting the ball for hitters like Cotton and Meyering, but Ingalls is ready for her opportunity.
“There is pressure and I know there’s big shoes to fill, especially with Hayley (Hughes) leaving,” Ingalls said. “She was my mentor throughout the whole thing, even through JV. I’m excited for the challenge to help the girls and see how we do this year.”
With the roster set just two days before the first match, Meyering thinks the team will be a work in progress in the early going.
“I think it’s going to be learning as we go,” Meyering said. “I think we’re going to figure things out in our first game because we haven’t worked on rotations or anything.”
But as Born pointed out, other teams will be facing the same kind of quick turnaround. “We’re all in the same boat.”