The Dodge City High School volleyball team, now led by first-year head coach Ashley Podschun, brings a lot of returners. They only lost two from last year’s group, and as tryouts began, the team didn’t have an issue with numbers.

“Day one we had 58 girls out,” Podschun said.

That was before cut day, when she said she would get down to about 34 total players.

She couldn’t say for sure what the team was like yet, but overall said she has been pleased with the work ethic of those who came out and their ability to get along as a team.

Going into the year, however, Podschun said the team wants to work to speed up its game and try to keep their sets a little lower and try to offset opponent’s defense so blocks can’t get up as well against the Red Demons.

“Obviously one of my big things that I strive and really push for is serving and passing,” Podschun said. “That’s something I was really good at whenever I played and that’s something I really push to have is good passers and good servers because that’s kind of what wins and loses you games. So that’s our big goal, is to make sure that we’re solid servers and very good passers.”

The Red Demons finished 9-27 overall last year.

They did, however, make it to the Sub-State Final last season before falling in that round to Garden City by scores of 25-9, 25-12.

The experience of the returners will be big for the Red Demons, Podschun said.

“That’s huge and that’s huge in any sport when they’ve been there, Podschun said. “Knowing that I’ve got all but one from that team back is huge.”

Having five or six girls who played the majority of the time back is going to be big, she said.

“They know what to expect when they get there, being in a different kind of atmosphere than what we have here, so I’m gonna rely on them big time when it comes to that time of the year,” Podschun said.

There’s also some youth on the team as well. The junior class is a little smaller, the sophomore class is fairly big, and then a huge freshman class, with 23 freshmen having come out for the team this year, Podschun said. They also have seven seniors.

That’s a lot of youth for this team.

“The future looks bright for this program,” Podschun said.

The Red Demons open their season Saturday, Aug. 25 in Hutchinson. They open their hope season with a quad against Great Bend, Kiowa County and Spearville Sept. 4. That quad is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.