WATERFORD - The Waterford Lady Wildcat opened their 2014 campaign Monday night with over 20 girls participating in the first practice.
The Lady Cats come into the season looking to pick up right where they left off as the 2013 team finished the season with a 23-3 record, good enough for 16th place in the year ending Ohio Division IV rankings.
Head coach Jandy Drayer was pleased with her numbers as well as the attitude of her squad in practice number one.
"This is a real good group of girls and they are real easy to motivate," said the veteran head coach, whose team advanced all the way to the sweet sixteen last season before being eliminated by Newark Catholic. "They are pretty excited to get things going."
This year's team will have a few key positions to fill as Alyssa Miller, Laura Hill, Katie Semon, Jessie Reynolds, and Haley McCutcheon were all lost to graduation.
"We've got some spots to fill that are definitely going to be tough," said Drayer, whose team went undefeated in Tri-Valley Conference (16-0) play a season ago. "We have players that can step in, we are just going to have to be patient and let them step into their roles and figure it out."
Among the key returners from last year's team are seniors Taylor Hilverding and Maddy Sury as well as junior Dani Drayer who was a first team all-district pick in 2013.
"Those three are going to play a huge role in taking over leadership of this team," said Coach Drayer. "They will need to take these freshman and make them feel comfortable."
The Lady 'Cats have a little over three weeks to practice before things get going for real on the 28th of August when they host the Belpre Lady Golden Eagles to open both the regular and conference seasons.
"We've got a lot of good solid fundamental volleyball players, and we also have a very good crop of freshman coming in, so we are looking forward to this season."