The Dodge City High School volleyball team’s first Western Athletic Conference championship since 2010 may not be a realistic goal for the 2016 Red Demons. However, with a talented group of sophomores, a conference championship may be on the horizon.
In her first year as head coach of the Dodge City girls volleyball team, Amy Fleener wants to begin building the program to where she thinks it ought to be.
“We are going to be young,” Fleener said. “The seniors are doing a great job and they are going to earn their spot, the junior class isn’t very big and so we are going to be young. Of the 12 who are in the mix everyday, seven of them are sophomores.”
The three seniors on the varsity roster will be Tia Bradshaw, Ashley Nelson and Mariah Wissar. Sophomores Madeline Armstrong, Madeline Kalschuer, Hayden Sanchez and Ezinne Okoro help make up the large sophomore class.
The Red Demons will begin their season this weekend at a tournament in Hutchinson. Not only will Dodge City be tested by a competitive field of teams, Fleener will get her first opportunity to see many of her new players play at the varsity level for the first time.
“You can only practice so long,” Fleener said. “I want to put the jersey on, have an opponent and see who has ball sense. Some people look exceptional in drills then when you have an opponent, they don’t.”
Fleener recognizes that the Red Demons could struggle early on in the season with such a young team, but come late September, she expects her team to be a hard out for their opponents.
“I think at the end of this year, we’ll be a team that people aren’t really going to be excited to play,” Fleener said. “I think we’ll come on really well at the end of the year. I’m not announcing any kind of championships but I think we’ll be tough by the end of the year.”
Saturday’s tournament in Hutchinson will begin at 8 a.m. There are 14 teams in the field including Dodge City and fellow WAC opponent Liberal.
Aug. 27 at Hutchinson. 8 a.m.
Sept. 6 vs. Great Bend, Spearville, Kiowa Co. 4 p.m.
Sept. 8 vs. Hays, Lakin, Sublette. 4 p.m.
Sept. 15 at Liberal. 5 p.m.
Sept. 17 at Liberal. 8:30 a.m.
Sept. 27 vs. Garden City, Liberal. 4 p.m.
Oct. 1 at Andover. 8 a.m.
Oct. 6 at Garden City. 4 p.m.
Oct. 18 at Hoisington. 4 p.m.