For the past two years, the Boling Lady Bulldogs have made it to the second round of the playoffs, both times losing out to regional semifinalists.
The road this season back to the playoffs will be harder after graduating key seniors, including hitter Tori Arrington and setter Emily Gmitter.
The Lady Bulldogs have three returners who played a lot last season and will only have two seniors. Boling will be much younger with fourth-year Head Coach Ashleigh Burnside counting on a big freshmen contingent.
“I knew coming into the season what I wouldn’t have versus what I had,” Burnside said. “I told them the game has to change. I’m not going to let them play junior high volleyball because that’s what they’re used to, they’re going to have to adapt to the varsity level and pick up the game.”
With lower numbers, Burnside said she wasn’t able to really scrimmage each other much this season. The first real-time the Lady Bulldogs got to test themselves was with their back-to-back scrimmages last week.
Replacing the offense that Arrington and Gmitter brought to the Lady Bulldogs is an impossible task, forcing Burnside to change things up this season to best fit her team.
“(I’ve) come up with a new offense, a new dynamic,” Burnside said. “I don’t want to replace them, they’ve got to be their own team now.”
A plus for the Lady Bulldogs is senior Payton Wostarek who was the district Newcomer of the Year last season, she’ll be one of the key returners they count. On the team will also be, Kylee Joyce, Azalynne Chilek, Emma Jones, Savannah Savage, Allie Floyd, Madelyn Jay, Ellie Voulgaris, Madison Malone and Zacoryia Montalvo.
Boling this season will stay inside District 24. However, the district will be a little different for the next two years. Not only will they play East Bernard, Van Vleck, Danbury and Hitchcock, they’ll also have to face newcomers Brazos, Harmony School of Discovery and Hempstead.
“The one positive thing about this team is they don’t like to lose,” Burnside said. “The one thing I don’t have to worry about is them not getting up, they’re not going to give up.”
Boling today will play Bay City at home. They’ll travel Tuesday to take on Wharton.