KEARNEY — The Bulldogs volleyball team has a new leader in head coach Brandy Tanner.
In her first year at the helm of the program, Tanner said she will look to returners like Alli Poage, Andra Schreiber, Ella Wolters and Merrick Gacke.
The team saw its season end last year in district finals when No. 1 seed Platte County beat the Bulldogs 3-1 in the Class 4 District 16 championship game.
“We look for Andra Schreiber (all-district second team last season) to step up and be a big presence at the net. Alli Poage is another returning started that will be an all-around player for us,” said Tanner. “We return Kylie Walker in the libero to team up with a transfer from Northland Christian, Mallory Jury. Both are strong passers and will create a solid defense for us. Sophie Kaster is a senior who has worked hard this summer. At the start of the season she can bring a heavy swing when we need one.”
In addition to Jury, Tanner said the team has its eyes on “a few new freshmen that will look to push for playing time.”
As for strengths, the new coach has identified many on the team.
“We have a solid back row defense. Kylie Walker, Mallory Jury and Kate Martens do a great job of keeping the ball off the floor and they can cover some ground. If we can keep our middles active, I believe Andra and Alli will also be strengths for our team,” said the coach.
Tanner, who was hired late in the spring, said the team’s weakness at this point is time.
“I think this team has great potential and the girls are working really hard,” said the new head coach. “I believe you will see a lot of growth as the season progresses.”
After the defeat last season, Kearney’s players are looking forward to seeing Platte County on the court again this fall.
“The girls say Platte County is their big match up,” said Tanner. “They lost in the district championship game to Platte County last year in four sets. Platte County is always a good game.”