JOHN DAY - The 2006 girls volleyball season is already under way, and the GUHS team is looking to move forward with a strong showing this year.
Although they lost nine seniors from last year's squad to graduation, the Prospectors are extremely optimistic about the season.
The team has a roster of 36 players, and while only four of those are returning starters, the whole team was carrying a very positive outlook for the future.
"I think this is a better team." said Cindy Batease, the team's coach. "We work together much better this year and we like playing as a unit. We have a much more positive environment this year. We watched one of our opponents last week just implode, and it made them much easier to beat. That's not how we want to be as a team. This year we are really stressing sportsmanship and having fun."
That seemed to be the overriding theme with each, and the players appeared to be having a lot of fun in practice.
The work ethic is the team's strongest trait, the coach said.
"We have become a much more fundamentally sound team and it shows. We have to be, because we have a much tougher schedule this year. We play Burns and Vale and they're both tough, but they are beatable if we stick together."
The motto for this year is "Believe It!" and Sarah Cary, a senior said, "We can win if we stick together. We play with a lot of excitement. In fact, we like to overwhelm opponents with our enthusiasm."
Their toughest opponent will likely be Burns.
"They placed third at state last year and they have a lot of talent," said senior Mikala Alley.
The other senior is Kerry Randall.
If the Prospectors have a weakness this year, it is youth. Many of the starters this year are juniors and sophomores. The players think this is far outweighed by how well they play together as a unit.
"We have an excellent group of young ladies playing this year," said coach Batease," and they really represent our school and the community very well. They're something we can all be proud of as a team."
Will they get to state? How far will they go? These are questions that time and more games will answer.