With a new coach in tow, the Canton-Galva volleyball team will look to their experienced players to make things happen in the upcoming season.
“The biggest thing for us is, we have five seniors who have played quite a bit of volleyball on the varsity level, and that’s one thing that we’re really looking to carry us a little bit more this year, just that leadership and experience,” said first-year coach Jake Sims.
“We’re going to combine five seniors with a couple sophomores and hopefully, with playing and practice, we can get a nice team bond with that and ride that out.”
Sims said the team’s goal is to improve from last year’s 9-20 record, which he said was disappointing for his players.
“I don’t think that record indicates the kind of talent I have,” he said. “So that’s my job, to coach the talent but also to compete mentally.
“I know they want to have a good year, it’s the seniors’ last run at things, and I?know they’ll try to make the most of what they have to offer.”
In addition to his experienced seniors, Sims also is excited about some fresh additions to the squad.
“Probably some newcomers who will be full mainstays on the varsity level would be two sophomores, Erika Smith and Jennifer Likes,” he said. “They had a lot of time as freshmen, but they’re going to be asked to play a bigger role.
“We do have a transfer coming in, Mandy Nightengale, who could, when she’s done battling mono and has her feet back under her, be exciting toward the end of the year.”
Sims said he thought his team was where it needed to be as far as talent goes, but there’s still work to be done and details to perfect.
“Weaknesses would probably be mental toughness,” he said. “I always tell them tough isn’t being able to take a punch in the face, it’s how you react when things aren’t going your way.
“We’re really big into details and doing the little things right, because the little things make big things happen.
“I think with a combination of all those things, we’ll see a better translation of that out on the court.”
The Eagles hope that combination will be the key for changing their luck against league leaders Moundridge and Inman.
“They haven’t had a whole lot of success there in the past couple years, but I think that’s something we can work on,” Sims said. “I know they’re really looking forward to the Canton-Galva Invitational, especially not being able to play it here in the gym.
“I think that should light a bit of a fire under them, wanting to succeed and do well.”
Canton-Galva was scheduled to host the tournament in their gym, but lightning recently created a major leak in the roof that destroyed the gym floor.
The floor is being replaced, but it’s doubtful the Eagles will be able to host any games in their gym this season.
Nevertheless, the Eagles are enthused about moving on and making their mark.
“I’m just excited to get out there and start playing,” Sims said. “(The players) can probably relate to that. We’ve been in the gym enough so far that we’re ready to get out and compete.”
The Eagles are scheduled to begin the season Sept. 6 by hosting the Canton-Galva Triangular.