Platte Canyon High School head volleyball coach Johnna Bambrey is very specific with regards to her expectations for the Lady Huskies 2019 season.
“I expect us to finish in the top four of the Frontier League this season,” Bambrey said.
On the surface, those might not sound like especially burdensome expectations. An in- depth look at the conference, however, tells the rest of the story. The Class 3A/2A Frontier League is comprised of 12 teams, and it is stacked with perennial powerhouses.
Middle Park went 13-0 in conference play last season, while KIPP Denver Collegiate (10-4) and The Academy (10-4) posted double digit wins as well over the 13-game schedule. Bennett, DSST Montview and Lake County all posted eight or more wins to finish just ahead of the Huskies in 2018.
To finish among the league’s top four would require the Huskies to leap three positions over last year’s final placement in the standings. Furthermore, according to Bambrey, Middle Park, Bennett and DSST should all be top-three caliber squads, just as they have been in recent years.
So what prompts Bambrey to expect such a significant leap forward in 2019? For starters, she has four proven returning starters, two of whom earned All-Conference honors last year. Furthermore, she has a pair of newcomers, both sophomores, who should yield immediate dividends.
Senior setter Charlize Renfro was named Second Team All-Conference last season and led the team with 383 assists.
Renfro is joined by junior outside hitter Georgia Schmidt, who was voted Honorable Mention to the Frontier League All-Conference team in 2018. Schmidt led the Huskies with 124 kills last season.
Renfro and Schmidt are reason enough to prompt optimism, but they are joined by Kaily Wright, a senior who led the squad with 125 digs last season, and junior Chloe Petitpas, who posted a team-high 41 blocks. Petitpas also had an impressive total of 84 kills in 2018.
A pair of dynamic sophomore middle hitters should also help to stabilize the Huskies at the net. Alyssa Risenhoover, who managed 61 kills last year as a freshman, and Blanca Garcia, a foreign exchange student from Spain, will supply athleticism and depth for the Huskies.
Bambrey has also installed a new rotational defense for the upcoming season that she says allows her players to take a more aggressive approach.
“The girls have embraced the new defense and have been working hard to adjust to the changes,” Bambrey said.
The Huskies begin Frontier League action Sept. 7 on the road against Lake County, followed by The Academy, at home, Sept. 12.