State champion Bluebirds excited for new season

Staff writer

There’s nothing quite like a state championship to build anticipation for a new season, and the Goessel volleyball team is feeling it.

“I think excitement would describe this team,” coach Crysta Guhr said “They tasted success last year and want it again this year.”

Memories still linger from last season’s Class 1A Division 1 championship match triumph over Centralia.

“Match point was so exciting. We were jumping around in the huddle, hugging and crying,” Leah Booton said.

Booton is among six players returning from last year’s 44-0 squad.

“There will be changes with this year’s team,” said Eden Hiebert, “but we can handle it.”

For the Bluebirds to be successful, they’ll have to be a good road team.

“There are only three home games this year, so we will not have the home crowd noise as often as last year,” Brittney Hiebert said.

The team is forming close bonds with each other as they prepare for this season. They’ll look to senior Olivia Duerksen for leadership, but she won’t be alone in that role.

“There are a lot of leaders on this team,” she said. “We will help each other out.”

The Bluebirds have lost just one match the past two seasons; however, this year’s team doesn’t feel pressured by that record.

“We do not focus on wins and losses, but concentrate on getting better,” Duerksen said.

Shelbi Stultz and Savanna Wuest are additional returning players.

There will be a lot of holes to fill as key players graduated from the 2015 team.

“One challenge is that we have only 15 girls at practice,” Guhr said. “But this team’s chances to make it back to state are as good as any other team.”

Kansas volleyball coaches like Goessel’s chances. The Bluebirds hold the top spot in the Kansas Volleyball Coaches Association preseason rankings.

Goessel’s season began Tuesday with non-league matches at Herington. The Bluebirds will play Peabody next Tuesday at home.

Last modified Sept. 1, 2016