The Colts last made a trip to state in 2006, but since, they have been unable to produce a winning record. The 2011 campaign ended with at 8-25. Take away four seniors, and a recipe is brewing for a woebegone year in 2012.
“The girls are working hard, wanting to put in the necessary work to compete and willing to do whatever it takes to reach our goals,” said Askren. “I have seen some really good things, and look forward to an exciting, competitive season.”
Assuming the pressures of the leadership role is the capable Whitney Long. A 5-foot-9-inch senior, Long earned second team Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division I honors a year ago.
Long has started since she was a freshman, building the offensive attack as a setter, as well as providing a lethal finish as an outside hitter.
When the court flips, the same skills shut off parts of the floor for the opposing offense.
“She plays impeccable defense, as well,” said Askren. “She has an incredibly versatile jump serve, and possesses explosive power both in blocking and her hitting.”
The starting lineup also returns seniors Karissa Newton and Taylor James. Fellow seniors Ciara Manna and Kaylee Schulze will join the rotation.
“I have some key players that will step up and seniors that are willing to take charge,” Askren said. “Our leadership this year will play an integral role in our team’s success this season.”
Juniors Jessie Cowell will double up as a libero and defensive specialist. Classmate Marisela Hernandez will help Newton on the right side. Sophomores Hailey Leeper and Abbey Downs will continue to grow into the varsity offense as middle hitters.
The Colts open the year Saturday at the AVCTL preseason tournament. On Tuesday, they host Andover and Hutchinson. Campus’ regular season wraps up with a home date against Andover and Newton on Oct. 16.