Cedaredge High School volleyball coach Heather Dunbar will begin the season playing in Class 3A, a jump from 2A league play for the past two seasons.
This year's 3A WSL schedule will be diversified, notes Dunbar. "We have a good mix for our non-league schedule ranging from 1A to 4A division teams."
There will be loads of competition for the Bruins, including Delta's Panthers who moved down a division for the 2016 season. Other teams in the league include Aspen, Basalt, Coal Ridge, Grand Valley, Gunnison, Moffat County, Olathe and Roaring Fork.
Cedaredge was 22-5 last year with a league mark of 11-1. The Bruins open their season with Ridgway on Sept. 1 beginning at 5 p.m. (varsity). The first league contest is set for Sept. 8 with Roaring Fork.
Dunbar (three years as a junior varsity coach and another six at the varsity level) is looking forward to the new season, and challenge, in 3A league play. Several players will need to play big for the Bruins during the season. Hannah Gilmore, a senior middle player, was an all-conference selection a year ago and, "her play contributed in our success last year as a middle. We expect her to be big for us again."
Senior Hailey Henrie gained accolades from Dunbar for her role last season. "Hailey played outside and was instrumental as a practice player and was a key server for us last year. I have seen her leadership really grow this year," stated Dunbar.
Alexa Booth is a defensive specialist who Dunbar noted was another instrumental practice player who provided key service performances and again exhibits a growth in leadership abilities this season.
With no real experiences to compare, Dunbar is non-committal as to the teams to beat and who to fear might be. "Our league will be tough this year, as it was last year. We are back into the 3A scene and understand what that brings for us."