ELIDA — One would need only a few seconds inside the Elida High School gymnasium to tell that its gym is going through some changes.
As for the volleyball team that will play in it, it doesn’t plan to do rebuilding any time soon.
“We have a good team,” said senior setter Halee Best. “We’ve got outside hitters, we’ve got back row players. We’re a good team.”
The Lady Tigers lose three seniors off of last season’s team, also a good one by most standards. That team put together a 15-6 effort, which included a Class 1A regionals appearance. The nucleus that returns from that team gives Elida a solid offense and a challenge to Fort Sumner and Melrose in District 3-1A.
“I think Fort Sumner’s good and it’s a dogfight from there,” Elida coach Darrell Chenault said. “I know Dora’s tough, I know Melrose is tough and I think Floyd will get there.
“But I’m confident. I like our chances.”
How good those chances are is something Elida will find out quickly. Elida opens the season Friday at the Clovis Invitational. Chenault said that Elida’s pool includes defending 4A state champion St. Pius.
Elida was originally scheduled to start its season today at Grady, but it was canceled because neither home facility was ready for a match — Elida’s gym has a new floor and concession stand, but no seating at the present time.
The Lady Tigers will go as far as their offense will take them, with offense from outside hitters Adrienne Coe and Keisha Chenault. Those two will form the basis of the attack, and a loss of depth from the 2002 season will most likely mean that the Lady Tigers won’t substitute often.
Coach Chenault has confidence in his setters and finishers, and said that passing will determine the team’s fortunes.
“We’ve got two good outside hitters and two good setters,” said Chenault, referring to Best and Casey Ford. “Our passing game is the problem. We’ve got to work on our passing.”
The Lady Tigers, the District 3-1A runnerup behind Fort Sumner last season, know that competition will be tough for the district’s two playoff spots. However, the players think their experience will be an advantage.
“District’s always good and you can’t underestimate anybody,” Best said. “If we play like we’re capable of and we work hard, we’ll be all right.”