Dusty Crafton arrived last August to take over a Boyd volleyball program searching for its first playoff appearance.
A few months later, the Lady Yellowjackets not only earned a spot in the playoffs but notched the program’s first postseason win.
“We had a lot of learning to do,” Crafton recalled. “One of the rewarding aspects was, you could see the marked improvement from the beginning to the end of the season.”
While last year’s success during a 28-18 campaign gives her a solid starting point, Crafton will begin her second season with the Lady Yellowjackets Monday with a mostly different cast of players.
“In some ways we’ll be ahead of the game versus last year,” Crafton said. “But graduation took a toll on us. We’re very young.”
Boyd graduated two of its top hitters – Brooklyn Scarborough and Marley McCune. Crafton said they will have to rely on some young players to step up and fill roles on the outside.
Maddie Busch returns at middle blocker to provide some hitting and defense in the middle.
Baylie Harris, the Wise County Newcomer of the Year, will be able to help the young hitters from the setter spot. Harris handed out 632 assists last year, while also making 231 digs and serving 23 aces.
The Lady Yellowjackets will rely on their defense.
“Defense was a strength for us last year and I hope it will be again,” Crafton said. “We have a good libero.”
Senior Britney Howard returns at that spot. She made 448 digs in 2013, earning 9-2A Libero of the Year and Wise County Defensive Player of the year.
“She’s a good leader. She works hard every day,” Crafton said.