State tournament appearances aren’t to be taken for granted. Especially when you’ve had the kind of talent that Flasher’s Volleyball team has had in the last two years. Now, the Bulldogs must replace those key pieces.
“I just love the expression that tradition doesn’t graduate,” Flasher head coach Jerlyn Gabrielson said.
The Bulldogs don’t plan on losing the tradition of winning. But to get back to that point, they have to replace four starters from last season.
“We know how we all play volleyball,” junior Jayden Miller said. “It’s kind of just how we’re going to mend to each other now. Since we graduated those different people, everyone plays a different style of volleyball, so getting used to how everyone else plays and playing together as a team really well.”
With just two seniors on this year’s roster, Flasher will rely heavily on setter McKenzee Doepke to anchor the team, and she’s paving the way with leadership early on.
“Just let them know their mistakes are okay because they get down on themselves easily,” Doepke explained. “It’s kind of hard being young and being up with all the older girls.”
While most of the Bulldogs’ roster didn’t start last year, they do have state tournament experience, which is something that could prove to be invaluable along the way.
“If these kids are good enough teammates during the season, then those fundamentals and that knowledge will continue to grow and be left in those returning players,” Gabrielson said.
The Bulldogs hope to bark early in the season with three tournaments on their schedule. That gives them a chance to get familiar with each other, and their opponents.
“Tournaments help us practice a lot, so I think those will be important because we play however many times in a tournament and we play teams that we sometimes play in the regular season, so that helps just to know how they’re going to play,” Doepke said.
Flasher opens the season this weekend at the Coal Country Invitational.