Truman High School volleyball seniors Marlee Guenther, Olivia Lundquist and Kinli Miller are counting the minutes until their team opens the season Tuesday at home against Noland Road rival William Chrisman.
The Patriots will be the first to play a match in their newly remodeled gymnasium that has a fresh coat of paint, a storage area in the east wing, new banners and signage and a renovated hallway that now features a ticket booth, the activities office and the school’s Hall of Fame.
“First and foremost, we want to get a win over Chrisman next week,” said Guenther, an outside hitter. “We really want to get a win being the first team to play in our remodeled gym.
“It just looks so new and so bright and we’re really excited about opening the season here.”
An inexperienced Truman team finished 5-25-2 last year and coach David Gardner and his senior trio believe this year’s team will enjoy much more success.
“We’re not making any excuses, but we were awfully young last year, and all those young kids are coming back this year with a year’s worth of experience and that should really help,” Gardner said.
“We’re all excited about our new gym and I just hope that excitement doesn’t overshadow our goal of coming out strong and getting a win next Tuesday.”
Miller said that is an unlikely prospect.
“We’re all working so hard, because we want to have some success and finish our careers with a successful season,” said Miller, a setter. “It’s such an exciting time, but for me it’s a sad time, too, because I’m a senior and I know this will be my last season playing with all my friends. That’s why we want to make this season so special.”
Lundquist says the new-look gym could provide a big boost for the Patriots when they play host to the Bears.
“Just look how bright and cool our gym looks,” said Lundquist, who is also a setter. “It just heightens our intensity. You can see it at practice and you will hopefully see it next Tuesday when we play Chrisman.”
When Gardner arrived at Truman, both he and his players went through a learning process. In year No. 2, they became more familiar with each other. And this year, he believes his Patriots will enjoy success.
“We have some exciting young players, and I hope their play will take some of the pressure off our seniors, because I know how important this season is to all our girls,” Gardner said. “In a third season, I have adjusted to the girls and their personalities and I hope they have done the same with me. I know what to expect from each of our players and they have really been working hard.
“They’re a happy group who really enjoy being around each other and we’re all excited for the season to get started.”