The Chico Lady Dragons lost a lot of firepower from last year’s squad with the graduation of seniors Breann Hall, Charlye-Ann Biggerstaff, Corey Tate and Matison Rhodes.
“We lost quite a bit with the four seniors,” said coach Missy Patterson. “Those three played all the way around.”
But Patterson is eager to start her third season on the Lady Dragons bench with a youth movement.
“We’re pretty young but we’ve got a decent group of freshmen and an athletic bunch,” Patterson said.
The coach also said in her third year she is looking to mix up her lineups and try some unconventional approaches to record wins.
“We have to be quicker and think smarter,” Patterson said. “There’s different ways to win in volleyball. We have to buy into the other ways to win. It’ll take a lot of hard work.”
Alli York is Chico’s leading returning hitter. The junior put down 192 kills last year and added 191 digs. She also made 18 blocks.
“She played all the way around for us and will be our go-to hitter,” Patterson said.
The Lady Dragons also bring back setter Britton Petty, who split time with Hall last year as a freshman.
“There was a lot of pressure on her last year as a freshman,” Patterson said. “After playing a year, she’ll be more relaxed.”
Patterson is looking for Hope Webb, Raven Leal, Kylie Marburger, Hannah Davis and Cheyanne Hale to step in and fill roles.
The Lady Dragons moved into the new 9-2A and out of a league with state powers Lindsay and Collinsville. Chico is now paired with Bryson, Graford, Newcastle, Perrin-Whitt, Poolville, Ranger and Tolar. Poolville, Newcastle and Bryson were playoff teams last year.
“Being in a different district will raise morale,” Patterson said.