MOUNDRIDGE — Despite welcoming in a first-year head coach, the expectations are sky high for the Moundridge High School volleyball team this year.

The Wildcats return seven key varsity players from last year’s third-place finish in 1A. Additionally, Mondridge welcomes back four other key players and a freshman class of eight.

The Wildcats went 35-12 last season, lost to undefeated state champion Centralia in three sets in the semifinals, and rebounded with a three-set win over Olpe for third place at state.

Head coach Holli Carter is excited to work with an abundance of talent in her first year with the program.

“We will have a new look this year, but winning is part of our tradition at MHS and will compete at a high level and will work hard to continue the tradition of excellence,” Carter said. “As a first-year coach, I am thrilled with the level of talent we have returning and are bringing in and have high expectations for the season.”

The Wildcats will be led by four seniors: Sarah Brunk and ZiZi Sebrant play middle and outside hitter, Hailey Unruh is a hitter, and Katie Stucky is a setter.

Junior Erin Durst provides defense, while Kourtney Kaufman has nice size and will play setter and hitter once she recovers from an ACL injury. Carter says Kaufman will miss some time, but she is optimistic Kaufman will be back during the regular season.

Last season as a freshman, Kate Eichelberger earned All-Heart of America League honors as an outside/middle hitter. Now a sophomore, Eichelberger will be one of the team’s biggest offensive threats.

Expect the Wildcats to have depth to go along with an already proven core.

“I expect our freshmen to come in and compete and will be looking to some of them to play a role at the varsity level,” Carter said. “Our team has a mix of returners and young talent and we will work hard to find the right offensive and defensive combinations.”

Moundridge opens its title run at home in a triangular with Hesston and Conway Springs on Sept. 3.

2019 Schedule

Sept. 3 vs. Hesston/Conway Springs

Sept. 7 at Inman

Sept. 10 vs. Inman/Sterling

Sept. 14 at Goessel

Sept. 19 at Douglass

Sept. 24 at Berean Academy

Sept. 26 vs. Sacred Heart/SE Saline

Oct. 1 at Sedgwick

Oct. 5 at Belle Plaine

Oct. 8 vs. Remington/Hutch Trinity

Oct. 15 at Goessel

Oct. 19 HOA Tournament at Marion

Oct. 26 sub-state TBD

Nov. 1 state at Emporia