Some area prep volleyball teams had heavy losses, some coming off competitive seasons in 2018.
In a season that begins this week, all will face varied challenges as they look to 2019 and postseason success.
They’ll also try to end a dry spell at state for the area, as no team has made it there since 2016.
Chloe Lamont, a junior setter, leads Muskogee, which was 17-14 a year ago and graduates her sister Carsen Lamont and Madison Wiebe, both All-Phoenix selections. The younger Lamont averaged 17 assists and two aces.Seniors RIley Schuler, a defensive specialist and Jenna Winters, a libero, also return with starting experience. Look for junior outside hitters Paige Irwin and Lexi Reynolds to contribute significantly. Alexis Boyd, Kendran Dennis, Jazzy Henry, Mya Williams and Khloe Wahl are newcomers to keep an eye on. Falling in four sets to No. 8 Owasso in a regional first-rounder last year, Muskogee again faces the tall task of battling the bigger Class 6A teams.
A 27-3 Lady Indians team lost four seniors from a near-miss of a state berth in 2018 (losing in five sets to Southwest Covenant), but Darryl Hooper, a 5-9 senior, returns as a setter who had 764 assists, 64 aces and 98 digs as a first-year player.
The Lady Bulldogs lost big in graduating outside hitter Alyssa Armstrong, an All-Phoenix athlete in both volleyball and tennis who was an all-stater in volleyball. She and two other graduates, including another All-Phoenix selection in Emily Hankins, take 530 kills with them off a 17-8 regional finalist. Mary Kate Bobo, a 5-5 libero, had 269 digs last year. 5-5 setter Megan Hawkins (507 assists, 194 digs) and 5-6 right side hitter Kennedy Winn (166 digs) are all senior returnees.
The Lady Mustangs, 9-17 a year ago, will be led by senior Shayni Green, who averaged 10 kills, 13 digs and two aces last year, and Lexi Erb, whoas a freshman averaged eight kills and six blocks.
The Lady Tigers struggled at 7-18, but had just one key loss to plug. Back is senior middle blocker Kloe Bowin, a 6-2 middle blocker with 225 kills last season, Natalee Porter, a 5-8 junior outside hitter with 88 kills, Lydia McIlvain, a 5-8 sophomore setter who had 472 assists and Josie Foster, a 5-8 junior.