Last season was a good season for the Capital City volleyball team.
They recorded plenty of firsts in the program’s fourth season, highlighted by winning their first regular-season tournament and finishing with their first winning season at 22-13-1.
While Capital City still has more “firsts” it wants to accomplish, it’s just as important to build on those previous firsts and add the seconds, the thirds, the fourths …
“The ‘first’ that we still want to get is that district title,” Capital City coach Kelsey Vogler said. “That’s what we’re definitely reaching for this year.
“As for ‘seconds,’ it’s continuing (to have success) in the tournaments that we have and getting those titles. Getting first place in all three tournaments would be what we are focused on. We have the record that we wanted last year, and we want to continue that.”
Capital City won five of six sets against Troy-Buchanan, Warrenton and the STL Panthers during Wednesday’s Jamboree at Warrenton. The Lady Cavaliers hope to carry that momentum into today’s opener at Marshfield.
The freshman and JV matches start at 1 p.m., followed by the varsity contest at 2:15 p.m.
“Perseverance is our ‘hashtag’ this year,” Vogler said. “There are definite moments in which we struggled, and instead of allowing that struggle to build on itself, we persevered through that struggle and we came out on top.”
The Lady Cavaliers return two key players from last year’s roster.
Junior Aslyn Marshall is back at middle hitter and leads all returners with 143 kills and 31 blocks.
“If teams pay attention to us, they know we like to dominate in the middle,” Vogler said. “With Aslyn returning in that position and being another year older, she is taking care of the role very well so far.”
Addison Jones, a junior, returns as a defensive specialist and will be the libero. Jones had a team-high 462 digs last season.
“She’s been with us since freshman year and she has truly stepped into that libero role this year in every aspect,” Vogler said. “Her consistency has gotten to the level of where she is a true leader on the court.”
Playing outside hitter this season for Capital City are senior Payton Becker and juniors Kalley Brase and Kari Kemna.
“The outside position is definitely one where we were looking for that ‘power outside’ that we needed to replace in what we lost as seniors,” Vogler said. “I truly believe that we have it.”
Sophomore Katie Daehnick will take over at setter for Capital City’s 5-1 offense.
“We pulled her up to varsity to have her play some sets whenever we could at the end of last year,” Vogler said. “She’s gotten a small taste of varsity.”
Also playing defense on the back row for the Lady Cavaliers is seniors Serena Litteken and Leah Warren and sophomore Danika Brase.
Juniors Myla Wilson and Layla Hess will round out the varsity roster.
“These girls have been waiting for this opportunity,” Vogler said. “This program is now in its fifth year, and those first four years, we had those consistent varsity players. They’ve graduated and these girls are chomping at the bit to get up on varsity and really prove themselves.”
Last season, three of Capital City’s first four matches went five sets.
“We do play a lot of five-set matches,” Vogler said. “Our girls just like to play.”
The Lady Cavaliers want to cut down on the number of sets that get away from them this season due to unforced errors.
“In the past, we’ve had too many comfortable errors, and we were OK with some of the things of the things that we’ve been doing,” Vogler said. “We’re trying to make sure we don’t allow errors on pile on each other.”
Service errors were also a hindrance for the Lady Cavaliers last season, when they had 230 service errors compared to 201 service aces.
“That’s a loss of momentum, that’s an easy point for the other team,” Vogler said. “We’ve focused a lot on that.”
A big varsity roster has been a good thing this preseason for Capital City.
“For the first time, I think we have players that are competing against each other for their spots on the court,” Vogler said. “They can’t get comfortable, they had to compete every day in practice.”
Capital City hosts Hickman on Tuesday for its home opener, the first of nine home matches.
The Lady Cavaliers are in the Hickman Tournament on Sept. 9, the Eldon Tournament on Oct. 7 and the Versailles Tournament on Oct. 14.
Capital City is in Class 4 District 5 this fall with Camdenton, Helias, Jefferson City, Rolla, Union, West Plains and today’s opponent, Marshfield.
“Marshfield is a very good competitor,” Vogler said. “We start the year strong, and that’s what we need.”