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Henry volleyball coach Albana Smith has been preparing for her second year at the helm with summer open gyms and preseason with a main goal of getting all the potential out of her players.
“I’m just trying to push the girls to an even higher level now that I’ve kind of seen the conference and our competition,” Smith said. “Now I know what to expect going into the year with them. We’re trying to work on more individual skills, trying to improve skills on the basic level in order to reach the higher level in order to compete more with the teams in the (Tri-County) conference.
“I think as long as they build that team chemistry and build upon that, they have the skills to succeed. That’s what I keep telling them, ‘The skill is there.’ They just have to put it all together.”
Last season, the team went 8-22-2 and was knocked out in the first round of the regional.
With a young but experienced group of girls, the Lady Mallards hope to turn the 2012 record upside down.
Twin sisters Amanda and Amber Kereta are returning to the starting lineup as setter and outside hitter, respectively, while Jenah Anderson will once again be in the middle. All three were on varsity last year as sophomores.
Once she returns from injury, senior captain Kayla Beall will be the setter opposite of Amanda Kereta.
Sophomore Cassidy Sanneman will be the other middle hitter, classmate Autumn Eklund will play outside hitter and Putnam County transfer Destinee Gonazlez will be at libero.
“They were younger last year,” Smith said. “Everyone is gaining experience as we go. We have more experience this year, even though they’re still somewhat young.”
In summer open gyms and in camp, the Lady Mallards worked on serve receive and running a quicker offense to open up more holes for the big hitters.
Brandon LaChance can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_LaChance.
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