KINGMAN - With nine of the 11 roster spots occupied by seniors, the future is now for the Kingman High volleyball team. How far the Bulldogs go most likely will be answered by their focus and intensity on each and every point played throughout the season.
"If they play like I know they can, we can do a lot of damage," KHS coach Kasie Juelfs said. "There's no reason we can't finish at the top if - and it's a big if - we play like we're capable of playing. The top eight in the state is absolutely feasible."
The Bulldogs traveled to Flagstaff on Thursday and scrimmaged against Coconino. Juelfs used the preseason match to help solidify her plans for the season.
"We had a lot of good and a lot of bad," she said. "When I used the lineup I'm leaning too, we took Coconino by surprise. We were confident and the guns were blazing."
It was when Juelfs tinkered with the lineup that she saw some problems. The swagger and confidence of the Bulldogs went south a touch.
"I'm still trying to find the lineups where we do the most damage," Juelfs said. "I'm trying to convince the girls it's not about who's starting, it's where we need them to be at certain points so we have the strongest possible lineup on the floor."
Individually, Juelfs saw a lot of good. She said she was very impressed with the aggressiveness of senior middle-blocker Dominique Hale.
"We got the more aggressive Dominique I waited for all of last year," Juelfs said. "She came out hitting and blocking. She's never shown that in games, and I hope this sets the tone for the rest of her year."
Hale knows she needs to be less passive on the floor, and along with that, she's working to improve her overall game.
"That (aggressiveness) is what I'm striving to be every time I step on the court," Hale said. "I'm trying to get better at every aspect of the game."
Juelfs said seniors Amber Caswell and Tesla Morgan came through for the Bulldogs on Thursday. Caswell recorded a lot of kills and played well in the middle, and Morgan played under control.
"Tesla did exactly what she needed to do," Juelfs said.
Senior setter Rachelle Bullen has had to take on the complete setting duties as senior Hillary Acer is still recovering from a hip injury. Acer may be back in action in a week or two for KHS.
"I'm very happy with Rachelle," Juelfs said. "She's continued to work hard since the beginning of summer. She just has to get used to the different hitting styles of her teammates."
Bullen thinks she's moving forward.
"I feel I've definitely improved a lot by setting full-time for three weeks," she said.
The Bulldogs open the season with Bullhead City Mohave on Monday and Lake Havasu on Tuesday. Both games start at 6 p.m. at KHS.
"We're always ready to play Havasu and Mohave," Bullen said. We definitely want to beat our rivals."