“We have 12 freshmen, three sophomores, 11 juniors, and four seniors,” GCHS head coach Deb Hren said at the team’s morning practice on Monday, Aug. 18.
Hren, who is now in her sixth season in her current stint as coach of the Lady Devils, said she is “trying not to cut anyone” as she decides whether players will be assigned to the varsity, junior varsity, or “C” team. Some players could play on more than one team, she said.
“We have enough girls to fill all three squads,” Hren said.
All four of the team’s seniors are expected to play varsity exclusively, Hren said. They are Kesley Backus, Cammy Beeman, Kasey Betts, and Lexi Risenhoover. Likely to join them on the varsity squad are junior setter Tracy Dalton and sophomore Riley Pruitt.
Hren said the rest of the varsity spots, up to six more, will be decided as the team continues its preseason practices and gets ready for the opening matches of the season, which will take place at a weekend invitational tournament in St. George on Aug. 29 and 30.
“We’ll have a better idea of who’s going to play varsity after St. George,” Hren said, adding that several experienced juniors, including Madi Jones, Kennedi Patterson, Symony Call, Kylie Haycock, Rhiannon Bohannon, and Michelle Lopez, along with sophomores Hunter Moore and Tia Shumway, are among those expected to vie as frontrunners for varsity roster spots.
Serving as assistant coach this year is Teresa Croasmun, whose daughter Talaunee Croasmun, a junior, is also on the team.
“Before I went to our first day of tryouts I was really nervous about how the season would be,” said Risenhoover, who has played primarily on the front row as a right-side hitter, outside hitter, and middle blocker. “But everyone stepped it up. Every drill we did, everyone was impressing themselves and everyone else.”
“We have a lot of potential and options to play people in multiple positions,” Risenhoover added. “We are a very well-rounded group of girls, and I have high hopes for this upcoming season.”
Fellow senior Beeman, who usually plays libero, a roving defensive position, echoed her own high hopes for the season: “I’m excited since it is my last year. I love it!” Beeman exclaimed.
The Lady Devils’ first region contest of the season is scheduled against San Juan at Blanding on Sept. 11. Grand’s first home game will be a region match against North Sevier on Friday, Sept. 19.