North Zulch’s volleyball team, coming off its first trip to the state playoffs last season, started up two-a-days Monday morning in anticipation of another great year.
The team is notably short a player. Mackenzie Horn, the team’s leading setter and hitter and MVP, signed to play volleyball for Randall University in Moore, Okla. But powerhouses Robin Diserens, Sally Osth, Emma Baker, Raegan VanCour and Hannah Wiese are returning, and junior varsity players Ally Grier and Megan Massey are moving up.
“It’s looking good,” said Diserens, a senior who also plays softball. “We have some good freshmen coming up.”
Diserens said she’s undecided on where she wants to go to college or whether she wants to play competitive sports after high school.
“I want to be a nurse,” she said.
Her academic aspirations, however, do not minimize her anticipation for the coming volleyball season.
“I’m super excited,” Diserens said. “We’re ready for whatever comes at us.”
Iola and Centerville are expected to be major competitors.
“They’re strong opponents,” Diserens said.
Junior Sally Osth was a captain last year and said she’s thrilled to get to play with her younger sister Ana this year.
“Her height and her speed work in her favor,” Osth said.
The young athlete – who also plays tennis and competes in cross country – said volleyball is “absolutely” her sport.
“It’s my passion,” she said.
“The team looks promising,” Osth added. “We work well together and everybody gets along. We trust each other. If we work hard, we can do anything.”
Head Coach Greg Horn, whose daughter Mackenzie was the only graduating senior, said the return to the court was bittersweet.
“It was hard last night,” he said during the team’s first practice Monday morning. “I thought, I’m excited about tomorrow but I won’t have my daughter here.”
Horn wasn’t the only one who was a little excited to get started at practice. Many of the team members showed up at 7:30 a.m. for an 8 a.m. practice.
The girls scrimmage at Madisonville on Saturday starting at 9 .m. The first varsity home game is Aug. 16 vs. Buffalo.
The Lady Bulldogs finished their last season 3-6 in district and 15-13 overall.