Last year the Cheyenne Wells Lady Tigers started out in a promising way, but some tough breaks resulted in a less-than-desired outcome with a 9-12 season record and 1-4 Hi-Plains League record.
The Tigers lost the services of four seniors from a year ago who contributed greatly on the varsity team including setter Kassadee Dickey, middle hitter Makayla Brossman, defensive player Ella Weed, and libero Londyn Eiring.
Three of those seniors were starters.
But, fourth-year head coach Sarah Hyle is excited to begin the 2023-24 season as she returns five key players from a very young 2022 team.
Hyle will look to senior Izzy Trevino-Lopez as a leading middle hitter. “Izzy is our team leader; she works hard and holds herself and others accountable. She led our team in hitting percentage last season, and she is our rock in the front row.”
Savannah Worley is a junior this year and should be very dangerous from the outside. “Savannah is a powerhouse. She played club volleyball in the winter, so I’m looking forward to seeing the improvements she’s made in the off season.”
Junior Paige Ryser is an outstanding athlete and will join Worley as a powerful outside hitter. Hyle says of Ryser, “Paige brings intensity to our team. When she is on the court, the playing level is raised. No one hits harder than she does; she goes for a kill every single swing.”
Junior Chamille Giron will play on the right side as a hitter. Hyle likes her intensity, “Chamille is a hard worker and a vocal leader. I love how scrappy she is and the communication she brings to the team.”
Finally, sophomore Aubry Carroll will take over the middle on the rotation. According to Hyle, “Aubry is a great all-around player. She took on a huge role as middle hitter as a freshman and is stepping up as a team leader this season. She may surprise people this year.”
Hyle will look to other players to assist the team in practices and JV contests as they improve their game. She thinks as the season progresses some of these talented players will be able to step in and make a difference at the varsity level:
Seniors: Dana Hampton, Casie Minton, Amie Niles
Juniors: Kenzie Brossman, Kierra Harlow
Sophomores: Athena Ball, Lily Gilmore, Aliyah Muth, Evan Scheimer, Gabbi Trevino-Lopez, Serenity Worley
Freshmen: Kallie Ball, Bailey Peitschmann, Haven Rodriguez, Tegan Wood
Hyle believes her group’s aggressive play will surprise some people, “Our strength is going to be attacking and blocking. We have a solid front row this season.”
The key to getting the hard hits, however, is whether the players can get a good pass up to their setter and then to the hitters. Hyle sees the all-around passing as the major thing they have to work on, “We really need to improve on passing and back row defense. We lost our setter and libero last season, so we are working on developing some of our more athletic players into those positions. With a lot of hard work, we are hoping we can decrease the deficit in those areas.”
In order to compete in the Hi-Plains League, one of the toughest in the state in the 1A division, Hyle thinks they will have to find a way to beat McClave, Cheraw, and Eads.
“McClave is returning much of their team from last year. Melissa is a great coach, and they have a powerful offense. Cheraw is also well-coached. They are solid in every area of the game. Eads is a young and powerful team. They will be competitive for a long time.”
Overall, Hyle likes what she is seeing as the team works toward opening day. “I have a positive outlook for our season. Although we are building in some areas, especially defensively, the girls that we have are hard workers and very competitive. They want to play at a high level and will push each other to become better volleyball players. If we believe in ourselves, we should be able to compete with the best!”
The Tigers open up their season on the road. On Thursday, August 24, they will travel down to South Baca, and then head north to Stratton on Saturday, August 26.