For the Daily News
---- — STRASBURG — Who knows how far Stewardson-Strawsburg could go this season after winning its first regional since 2007 last season?
Of course, this is with saying the Lady Comets have five starting seniors coming in to run the floor.
"We have a pretty strong upper class," said coach Ronda Schlechte. "We will have a strong base coming in. The setters had a great summer. The girls are hoping to compete in the conference. Getting past regionals again would be pretty nice."
Headling the offense will be senior Brittani Tabbert. The senior averaged three kills and 3.7 digs last season. Accompanying her will be the lone junior in the starting rotation, Kendall Knop. The first team all-National Trail Conference selection averaged 2.8 kills and 4.8 digs last season, as well as finishing fourth in the area with 73 aces.
Also back is Lindsay Burton. The senior led the team in blocks with 49 last season.
"Lindsay Burton came out as probably our strongest hitter," Schlechte said. "Last year, we didn't get to use her as much because of weak passing. We are going to utilize her in the middle position.
"She played a lot of club volleyball, and hitting is one of her strengths."
A freshman will replace graduated setter Keslie Welden, who led the team in assists at 6.6 per set. It's someone Schlecte is very familiar with.
"Becca Schlechte is going to be our starting setter," Ronda Schlecte said. "She played at Trinity with me, and went to state twice when we were there. She's a strong player all around. She knows her game."
Sarah Locke will be the senior libero. Morgan Stremming is in the middle, and Vanessa Milby is penciled is as a defensive specialist. Senior Baylee Quast, could see time at the setter position.
Two sophomores, Clara Kaufman and Jill Condor, round out the much older varsity squad, but those youngsters are also a part of the tight-knit Comet club.
"Things ran very smooth this summer," Schlechte said. "Team play was sometimes a struggle the last couple of years. I don't see that as a problem right now. They act as a family. If we play as a team, there's no question of what we could do."
The Lady Comets are hopeful for a strong season with their amount of experience back after winning the Regional title with a comeback win over Neoga. The team was 22-16 overall last season and 8-2 in the conference.
With a bulk of upperclassman, the season might be a fun ride for the Lady Comets.
"We put in a lot of extra time in the summer," Schlechte said. "We had a speed training course, and a lot of conditions which really helped. The girls went to a lot of summer tournaments. I was pleased with a win over Kansas (Tri-County), who beat us in the Sectional. That was a confidence boost."
That confidence will hopefully carry over for the season.
"The girls know they have opportunities this year to get past Regionals," Schlechte said. "Now, it's all about how we progress as the season goes on."
SENIORS: Brittani Tabbert OH, Lindsay Burton MH, Morgan Stremming M, Baylee Quast S, Sarah Locke L, Vannessa Milby DS
JUNIORS: Kendall Knop OH
SOPHOMORES: Clara Kaufman RH, Jill Condor S
FRESHMEN: Becca Schlechte S