This year’s volleyball team leaves a few more questions than last year’s for Metamora.
At the top of the list is who can replace two-time player of the year Kristin Rauh.
“She’s a special player, head coach Karla Bartman said. “When you lose those type of kids it’s pretty hard to replace. But, it’s a new year with new kids. Somebody else has to step up.”
Rauh was one of seven seniors that graduated from the team that made it to the Elite 8 last season. However, not everyone from that team is gone.
“We lost quite a bit,” Bartman said. “We’ve got a couple kids returning that had a role on that team, so now those kids will have to step up and have a bigger role.”
Returning from the team is Jordan TerBush, a senior middle/outside hitter who Bartman said will probably be the leader.
“She played a pretty big role last year,” she said. “I think she was second team all-conference.”
Also coming back is conference first-team libero Erika Wilson.
Unfortunately, another big player from the team last year, Kyler Samp, won’t be making a return for her senior year.
“She decided to just concentrate on basketball this year,” Bartman said.
Another big hole left for the team came when setters Anna Gualandri and Kasey Kanaga graduated.
Filling that spot will be senior Taylor Kells and junior Delaney Tjaden.
“Both of them are doing a pretty good job and getting a lot of reps in practice,” Bartman said.
Other players that will need to step up will be Destiny Adkins, an outside hitter, and Abby Barrow, an outside/ middle hitter.
“We’ve been solid since I’ve been here, so we’d prefer to have another solid year despite the fact that we lost some key players,” Bartman said.
After making a few cuts, Barman said that practices have been going good.
“They’re more of a quiet bunch than last year, but that’s not always a negative thing,” she said. “We just need to learn to gel and play as a team, and that just comes with experience.”
The team starts the season off Saturday at the Macomb Invitational before facing Olympia on the road Tuesday. The first home match is Sept. 4 against Canton.
The season also features a tournament at Jacksonville, Quincy and, for the first time, Sterling.
Page 2 of 2 - Looking ahead towards the conference games, Bartman said that Morton has one of the top returners in the conference in Sarah Livingston.
She added that Washington and Limestone will also be trying to take the crown away from the Redbirds based on their returners.
“We’re going to set the bar high and try to repeat as best we can, even though people will be gunning for us,” she said. “We’ve got some big shoes to fill from last year.”