Confidence spiking: Yukon volleyball team looks to have breakout year

The Yukon volleyball team is set to open the 2017 season next weekend with a tournament at Norman High School on Aug. 12 -13.

The Millerettes still have several more scrimmages to complete before their preseason is finished. Yukon will host their final scrimmages at 2 p.m. next Tuesday in the Auxiliary Gymnasium at YHS.

The varsity, junior varsity and freshmen will all be in action for their final tune-up before the regular begins several days later.

Yukon’s first home match will take place Aug. 15 against Putnam City North. The freshmen will begin at 4 p.m., the junior varsity at 5 p.m. and the varsity at 6 p.m. The Millerettes will also host Edmond Memorial two days later on Aug. 17 with the freshmen, junior varsity and varsity all playing at the same times.

YHS will conclude the regular season on Oct. 5 at home against Deer Creek.

Yukon coach Rachel Allred said she is pleased with what she has seen from her team so far in preseason practice.

“The first week is always really long,” Allred said. “Today (Monday), we did a little less swings and little more stretching than we normally would. They worked really hard last week and the scrimmages over the weekend went really well. It’s been a little more strenuous than it has been in the past, especially in that first week getting back from summer break.”

Allred said the Arkansas trip just before the start of practice was good for her team.

“I think it was crucial for us,” Allred said. “We went farther than we have ever gone in the camp and that is encouraging. Arkansas was the first time a lot of these girls have played together and to have no practices together and go and play that well was very encouraging. It gave us a lot of momentum going into the start of practice. In my five years here, we have never started a season as together as we are as a group this year.”

There are six seniors on the varsity roster for the 2017 season and each of those seniors is in-charge of “family groups” in the program.

“The seniors have really taken ownership of those family groups we are doing this year,” Allred said. “It has helped us really grow as a program and become closer to one another.”

Allred said the intensity level of the program is higher than it has ever been.

“The talent is more well-rounded this year,” Allred said. “We have more height, strength and speed this year and once we realize our potential and work hard to achieve that potential, I believe we can really take off.”

Allred said they have lofty goals for 2017 but they are taking it one day at a time.

“Our goal is always making state,” Allred said. “But we are focused on working hard and getting better every time we take the court, whether it be for practice or a game. We want to work toward playing our best toward the end of the season and heading into the postseason.”

Yukon senior Catherine Birkhead said the focus level at practice has been better this season.

“Everyone is focused, we all have a goal,” Birkhead said. “We all want to go to state. We need to have good attitudes, trust each other and work together to achieve our goals this year.”

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