The Southwest Lady Trojans are anxious to get on the volleyball court.
"It's nice to have an experienced team," said Steve Voyak, who is beginning his 10th year on the bench at Washburn. "We have put in a new base defense and additional hitting and setting responsibilities. The players are being challenged mentally."
Voyak has six returning seniors at his disposal, and is counting on the experience of Taylor Mettlach and Jerri Lynn Henry to guide his team on the floor.
"We have Taylor back in her natural position this year," said Voyak. "She is more efficient from the right side."
Henry, who has earned three varsity letters, excels at serving and hitting.
Southwest's front line is formidable. Besides Mettlach, the Lady Trojans have Montana Hendrix and Shannon Mitchell. Both provide size, skills and athleticism. Hendrix led the team in assists last season, and earned all-conference and all-region honors.
Freshman Jaime Shrum is expected to supply immediate support for Voyak's squad.
"Jaime was a dominant server and exceptional middle school player," Voyak noted. "She needs to improve her consistency."
Southwest has high expectations after a 15-13-2 record in 2011. The Lady Trojans open the season with a three-game road trip before their home opener against Galena on Sept. 11.