“I think we’re better than 7-28,” new coach Randy Skiles said. “I’m really looking to get over .500, and I think our senior leadership well help us do that.
“I think they’re hungry,” he added. “The seniors have been beaten to death for three years, and I think they’re tired of it.”
Playing in the Heart of America League against perennial powerhouses such as Moundridge, Hutch Trinity and Remington has not make it easy for the Eagles.
Struggling to finish close games has not worked in their favor, either.
“Finishing close games is something the team has had trouble with, and I think we’re ready to get over that,” Skiles said. “We’ve been working on digging in and getting it done quite a bit in practice.”
In his first season at CGHS, Skiles takes over a program that graduated three starters and returns three seniors among four letter-winners.
Ashley Vogts, 5-foot 6-inch setter, will quarterback the Eagles’ offense in her senior season.
“I think she’s going to be a good floor leader,” Skiles said. “She’s looking good. Her sets are getting to our hitters where they need them.”
Allie Enns (5-8) will play as the team’s primary middle hitter.
“She’s a junior who is hitting the ball very hard right now,” Skiles said. “She looks like she’s getting stronger every day.”
Senior Kylie Haines (5-8) will add a defensive element to the middle of the Eagles’ front line.
“She’s hitting well and she’s a real good blocker,” Skiles said. “I think she’s going to be real aggressive at the net.”
He identified Kaycie Shearer (5-7) as an outside hitter, and noted the contributions of second setter Kaytlyn Bressie (5-7).
“(Shearer) keeps getting stronger and stronger—she’s a pretty good passer. along with her hitting,” Skiles said.
“Bressie sat out all last year with a shoulder injury, but she’s come back strong this year. She’ll do some setting and she’ll also hit outside.”
Sophomore Brooke Berg (5-4) will play significant time because of her varied skills.
“I’m not sure exactly where we’ll use her—she’s not tall, but I think she can get by playing in the front row,” Skiles said. “We’re looking at her possibly subbing in the front row, possibly at libero. And she’s a real good server, so we’ll have a place for her.”
Shannon Williams will be a seventh contributor to the varsity in the early going.
“She’s probably going to play front row and back row,” Skiles said. “She’s about 5-foot-6 but she’s getting better at the net, and I know she’ll be a good back row player.
“As the season progresses, I’m hoping to get her into the front row more and more, to hit outside for us,” he added.
Aided by experience gained playing as a club team over the summer, this year’s squad is taking shape rapidly.
“I watched them play at the McPherson Tournament, and it’s hard to tell what they’re like,” Skiles said. “I’ve come in and changed some things, but I’ve left some of what I saw the same.”
The Eagles were scheduled to open the 2007 season Tuesday (Aug. 28) at a quadrangular hosted by Elyria Christian school. On Thursday, they will be competing in a triangular at Inman. Matches begin at 6 p.m.