Last year, the Kingman High volleyball team started off slow before heating up. The Lady Bulldogs won seven straight to get within shouting distance of the playoffs.
This year, coach Traci Rosenbach is hoping to avoid the 0-5 start by getting on a roll right off the bat when KHS opens the season at home against Surprise Valley Vista on Aug. 28. She is pinning those hopes for a fast start on lots of participation at open gym and having a successful camp.
"Instead of starting off slow like we did last year, I'm hoping to start off a lot stronger and be ready to play as a team," Rosenbach said.
Rosenbach has been holding open gym on Mondays and Tuesdays since the start of June, which has attracted around 18 to 20 girls. That's a good turnout, Rosenbach said.
The open gym session ended Tuesday. On Thursday, Rosenbach took a squad to a camp at Arizona State University where they played other high school teams from the Phoenix and Tucson areas.
"We are going to get a lot of competition," Rosenbach said before leaving. "We are playing three or four matches a day and it's good bounding experience for us. We can start off the year playing instead of starting off the year cold."
KHS will hold its Lady Bulldog camp July 30-Aug. 2 with two sessions, beginners for students entering grades 6-8 and advanced for those entering grades 9-12. The camp will also be a precursor to the start of official tryouts, which begin Aug. 6.
There is a bit of an unknown for Rosenbach heading into tryouts - what will the opening of Lee Williams High School do to the program's freshman numbers.
"We could see a decrease - I'm hoping we don't," Rosenbach said. "I want to keep a big team and we may not cut anybody if we don't' have to."
While Lee Williams' opening could hurt Rosenbach's freshman numbers, it could also create new opportunities for players who might have been cut last year or the year before.
"If there are less numbers, they have a bigger chance of making the team," Rosenbach said. "Sometimes you cut somebody and they come back and they are good."
Rosenbach expects a returning team that will include seven juniors and three seniors based on last year's roster. With the increased participation in summer open gym and the ASU camp, this could be the dawn of a bright season for the Lady Bulldogs.
"We could do some good things this year," Rosenbach said. "I'm looking forward to this season."