Its a new dawn for the North Marion volleyball program.
Since the end of the 2013 season where the Huskies finished at the bottom of the Tri-Valley Conference, North Marion has welcomed new athletic director in Brandon Fricke and a new head coach in Doyle Tracy, and the team made the switch over the summer from the Tri-Valley to the Oregon West Conference.
In the face of so many organizational shakeups, Tracy wants to make sure his new team takes the time to come together and build somewhat of a cohesive family not just at the varsity level, but among parents, coaches and players throughout the entire volleyball program.
I would like to see everyone come together to build a trust and familiarity so that we can focus on providing a strong base for the players to succeed, Tracy said.
With fall practices opening this week, Tracy wants to keep his program together as long as possible before breaking the team into individual units.
This will help everyone learn the new concepts and overall system that I will be implementing, Tracy said. Though, more importantly, it will help the players bond together to create a sense of a single team or family.
Although the new coach will formally meet many of his players for the first time this week, he has been impressed with the core group from last season that has taken advantage of open gym opportunities over the summer and other team-oriented activities.
There have been more than eight athletes ranging from ninth to eleventh grade that have been very committed to the fundraisers and open gyms that we have had so far, Tracy said. Ive been very happy with the desire and effort Ive been seeing and look forward to working with those athletes I have not yet had a chance to.
Outside of the four seniors who graduated from last year's team, the majority of North Marions remaining varsity players are set to return this fall. That includes the Huskies contingent of juniors, many of whom got their first varsity experience last fall playing in the Tri-Valley.
This years team will have to transition toward the Oregon West Conference, which featured two programs that finished ranked inside the top 10 at the 4A level in 2013. That includes title contender Cascade, which entered the state tournament last season as the No. 1-ranked team in the state before losing to Crook County in the championship game.
With a year of experience under their belts combined with new players coming into the program to replace the outgoing seniors and new conference rivals to play against, this season is full of question marks for the Huskies.
2014 NORTH MARION VOLLEYBALL
Coach: Doyle Tracy
Last season: 2-15 (1-9 Tri-Valley)
Key Players: Brandi Bowling, returning junior athletes
Key Losses: Haley Schrenk, Carlie Donnelly, Kylie Gonzales, Megan Schweighardt