GNADENHUTTEN -- As Tammy Reynolds embarks on her second season as coach of the Indian Valley High volleyball team, she is hopeful that improvement is on the horizon.
Last fall's squad finished 12-12 and fourth place in the Principal's Athletic Conference.
The veteran Reynolds has 10 years of varsity coaching experience. Her 2009 Claymont team reached the Division II Regional finals.
Her first task is replacing five departed seniors. Gone are Jessica Knisely, Rikki Ohler, Katie Saho, Macy Giffen and Hali Host.
Returning are seven letterwinners from the 2011 squad, headed by seniors Maggie Kennedy (5-4 defensive specialist) and Alli Martinelli (5-3 setter).
Juniors with varsity letters are Harlie Crouse (5-3 defensive specialist) and Bailey Stull (5-6 setter), while a trio of sophomore letterwinners -- Ashley Reynolds (5-11 middle hitter), Danara Lamonica (5-11 hitter) and Sydney Kandray (5-7 setter/hitter) also return.
Other juniors who will play varsity are Malory Roth (5-8 outside hitter), Brittiani Garabrandt (5-4 setter) and Devin Bell (5-7 outside hitter).
Sophomore Stephanie Risher (5-3 defensive specialist) rounds out the 2012 varsity roster.
Handling junior varsity coaching duties will be Tera Pryor. Her squad consists of Risher, Garabrandt, Allicia Jenkins (5-7 hitter), Chelsey Swaney (5-7 hitter), Baili Fox (5-5 defense/hitter), Courtney Mizer (5-8 hitter) and Alec Hartrick (5-7 hitter).
Seven players are part of the Lady Braves' freshmen team. They are Mizer, Sam Hamilton, Sydney Sayre, Emily Smith, Kristen Wenger, Sarah Mattison and Baily Menefee. "Our kids have been working hard this summer with league and tourneys," Reynolds remarked, "We hope we can post a better won-loss record than last year."
Reynolds points to her hitters as a potential strength.
"We have more hitters than last year," she said, "and a greater variety of hitters. We will be more versatile. What we must improve on right away is communication and leadership."
Reynolds gave pre-season kudos to Tusky Valley, Triway and Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy and indicated they could be at the top of the final league standings come October.
Non-league highlights on the Lady Braves' schedule include a Saturday, Sept. 8 home quad with Carrollton, Garaway and Coshocton along with a Saturday, Oct. 6 road tri at Ridgewood with Dover joining.
Indian Valley opens on Tuesday, Aug. 28 at Timken.