The Kiowa County Mavericks volleyball team, one of three Southern Plains - Iroquois Activities Association teams to make it state in 2017, will be making a few schematic changes in 2018, and head coach Randy Fulton said he thinks it will be fun to watch.
"To be honest this is gonna be a different year,” Fulton said. “This'll be my 29th or 30th year, I can't remember which one, but I've probably got five or six legitimate hitters this year, so we're gonna run a 6-2 this year which is a lot different than I've always done.”
Historically, that has meant the team would run one setter, but with the athletes he has this season, he has decided a better fit for them would be to run two.
"I think once we get everything figured out in the roles, everybody takes their role and figures out what they're supposed to be doing on the team, I think we're gonna be fun to watch,” Fulton said.
Returning for the Mavericks is Brecken VandenHoek, an all-state player last year and really good hitter, Fulton said. She’ll play back row this year.
The modification will not be necessarily spur-of-the-moment as the Mavericks gear up for their first matches of the regular season. Fulton said the team tried the new scheme a little this summer and he thinks it’s going to work.
The team lost a pretty good group of athletes, Fulton said, but he also believes that some of the young talent on the team is going to step up and play varsity. By the end of the year, he said he thinks the team should be in good shape.
That’ll be important in the highly competitive SPIAA.
"I think our league's always been tough,” Fulton said. “Really Kiowa County, Spearville, Coldwater (South Central), those three have been state contenders the last I don't know how many years. Bucklin was pretty good a while back and they've got some young kids coming up, South Gray has been tough and they've got a good team this year."
Besides the tough competition, the Mavericks will also have to work with having two new setters.
“That’s kinda like having a new quarterback, she's the one that's gonna run the offense for you out there, and when you put three girls on the front row and a setter coming out of the back row, there's always a chance of their running into each other a little bit more,” Fulton said. “There's a lot of movement, and when that setter's coming out of the back row she's gotta miss the hitters that are rotating back to go hit, and the hitters gotta watch out for the setter who's going to go set, so it makes it interesting."