The volleyball season at Goessel begins with a lot of freshness. The Bluebirds return three letter-winners from last year, so several key spots need to be filled by emerging underclassmen who are eager to play on the varsity team.
The Bluebirds begin play in the new Wheat State League and will travel to gymnasiums that Goessel has never been in before. With only 11 players reporting for volleyball this year, many of those will get to see action in the new season.
Head coach Crysta Guhr returns for her sixth year as head coach and will be assisted by Joanna Pyle.
Senior Kendra Flaming has played at the varsity level for three years and will contribute with consistent passing and hitting from the outside. Jennifer Van Horn, also a senior, will use her height and long reach as middle hitter and blocker.
Paige Booton, a junior, also lettered last year and will return to the Bluebird team as outside hitter and passer.
“Some people think we will be a lot weaker than last year because four seniors graduated,” Flaming said. “But this year’s team has been playing together during the summer and we have good team chemistry, so we should do well.”
Van Horn agreed.
“A lot of the juniors and sophomores did not see much varsity time last year, but they won 17 games on the JV team, so we have good athletes on this team,” she said.
Several underclassmen have a chance to fill remaining varsity positions. Among those who saw a lot of junior varsity action last year are juniors Makaila Schmidt, Aimee Flaming, Nicole Bartel, and sophomores Tia Goertzen, Jessica Harvey, and Alex Hiebert.
The new Wheat State League includes nine schools. Schools from the Heart of America League last year that also made the move with Goessel to the new league include Peabody-Burns and Little River.
According to Guhr, the Kansas High School Activities Association has created a 1A class Division 1 and Division 2. State tournaments will be held for both divisions in volleyball. Classifications by the state will not occur until later and Goessel will then find out if they will fall into Class 2A or Class 1A.
Goessel began the season with a quad match Aug. 31 at Hope. The team will be at home Saturday for the Goessel varsity tournament.