By Gerry Steele
HALFWAY - Pine-Eagle advanced to the Class 1A state volleyball playoffs a year ago as the Old Oregon League third-place team.
Just about everybody with the bulk of the varsity playing time from last year's team graduated. Coach Cindy Plano also resigned.
With the graduation of five players, and junior Jamie Butler out for the season with a knee injury, this year's team will be extremely young.
Just four players who were on last year's roster - Celisa Digges, Hayli Kuta, Jamie Pallan and Maddie Thatcher - return. Of that group only Thatcher saw much playing time.
And, with Plano leaving, the Spartans needed a new coach.
In steps Jenny Gulick.
Gulick has had no varsity coaching experience, but has served as an assistant coach and junior high coach under several former Spartan coaches.
"I was coaching junior high when Cindy came in," Gulick said.
"I can see a lot of promise, a lot of potential, in our younger girls," Gulick said.
Because everyone is still getting use to each other Gulick hadn't set a varsity lineup entering this first weekend of action.
"Our varsity lineup hasn't been set yet. One big dilemma is our setting whole, and who's going to fill it," Gulick said.
Gulick plans to take things one day at a time.
"We're just going to have fun, and learn as we go," she said.