The Salida Spartans are starting year two under Head Coach Haley Huffman, as she begins a big year for the program.

Before digging into what this year holds, lets take a look at last years squad. the Spartans entered 2018 with a very senior heavy team. The 15 seniors were a good thing to have as the season went on, and helped the Spartans to a 13-12 record.

The Spartans are losing the top three hitters from last season, with Kolby Carothers, Kyler Weaver, and Ellie Richardson all graduating, as well as setter Addison Bright, to averaged over five assists per set through the season and was a consistent presence for the team.

The serving game for Salida will also be a place where questions will need to be answered. Only three non-seniors served at the varsity level for the Spartans, and outside of Maddy Patch, only 17 service attempts were made by them. Obviously, the girls coming into the varsity this year are not new to the sport, but how they handle serving with varsity pressure will be a key for the Spartans this season.

On the defensive side, the Spartans biggest challenge will be replacing the height they lost from last years team. Weaver, Richardson, and fellow senior Kendra Smith combined for 111 blocks, with Smith and Weaver both combining for 45 each. Those numbers will be tough to imitate, with not as much height on the team this year, but the Spartans, while losing height, might have more quickness in the back line this year, and will need to lean on good back line play through the season against the hard hitting teams from the Tri-Peaks Conference.

The Spartans will be tested this season, and for fans, do not expect the team to start out where they left off last season. However, there are some talented athletes coming back from the JV and C teams, as well as a few freshman who the coaching staff are very excited about, so expect to see plenty of growth and progress as the season goes along.

Caleb’s Prediction: 9-13 on the regular season, no postseason.