Hayden Tigers volleyball looks to rebound | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden Tigers volleyball looks to rebound

Luke Graham

— Hayden High School volleyball coach Greg Johnson has been on both ends of the spectrum in his two years at the helm.

The Tigers stormed out to a 16-6 record in his first year. But a talented roster failed to meet expectations last year, finishing 6-16 overall.

Now in his third year, expectations are tempered with only two starters returning for the Tigers. But that doesn't mean Johnson doesn't expect to win.

"We can be competitive in every game we're in this year," Johnson said. "We're starting a new page from last year. We've got a lot of new girls in starting roles. I feel we have a lot of talented girls who have been waiting their turn. I think they're ready to step up."

Senior Delanie VeDepo and junior Erin Koehler return as starters from last year's team. VeDepo set most of the year, with Koehler hitting in the middle and on the outside.

Koehler, who might be the best female athlete at the school, will return to her role as one of the prime hitters. VeDepo will split time between hitting and setting in a 6-2 formation.

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"I'm excited to hit. I missed it," VeDepo said. "I did it when I was a sophomore, and it's a lot of fun."

The success of the Tigers might be determined by how a group of talented but inexperienced players transition into the lineup.

Seniors Lindsay Parrott and Morgan Bell are expected to help the team's depth. Aubree Haskins should provide some punch in the middle.

"Definitely, we're going to be better than last year," said Koehler, who has played varsity all three of her high school years. "That's No. 1. We're a young team, but we're hard-working."

Most teams in the district return more starters than Hay­den does. The season-ending district tournament also has changed.

This year, only four teams will advance to the tournament, meaning the regular season and how the Tigers finish becomes even more important.

The biggest key for the Tigers will be cutting down on their errors. If Hayden can get the ball to its setters with a limited amount of errors, Johnson said the Tigers have girls with enough athletic ability around the net to be successful. "Plus, these are the hardest-working girls I've had since I've been here," he said. "And after a down year last year, they're hungry, too."

— To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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