HALSTEAD — Six returning starters are set to lead the Halstead High School volleyball team through the 2020 season.


Diana Schutte begins her seventh season as the Dragons’ head coach, her 16th season overall as a head coach.


Halstead was 23-14 last season, 3-6 in Central Kansas League play. Halstead fell to rival Hesston in the Class 3A sub-state semifinals.


Top returnees include Josie Engel (5-7, sr., S-OH), Karenna Gerber (6-0, sr., MH) and Madi McClain (5-9, sr., OH).


"Josie started out her freshman year as a CKL all-league honorable mention libero," Schutte said. "She was second-team all-league as a sophomore. The Dragons ran a 5-1 offense using Josie as a setter her junior year, despite never setting before, because of her ability to get to any ball. She earned second-team all-league honors again. Josie had a good summer setting and working on her hitting. She will be an OH (outside hitter) for us this year. Josie is definitely our most versatile player.


"Karenna has been our starting middle since her freshman year. Her length and athletic ability helps us not only as one of our strongest hitters, but for defense as well. Karenna was first-team CKL all-league last season. A Division II basketball commit, we are looking for Karenna to be an even more dominant force in the front row.


"Madi was a middle for us as a sophomore, but has moved to OH where we could really capitalize on her athleticism. Madi is quick on the court and one of our top defensive players. Madi received all-league honorable mention as a junior."


Other returning starters include Hailey Kelley (5-9, sr., RS), Kaleigh O’Brien (5-9, so., OH) and Brylee Whitmer (5-3, so., S).


Other returning letterwinners include Pyper Dunn (5-4, so., DS) and Brylee Whitmer (5-3, so., S).


Freshman candidates for varsity play include Dominique Schutte (5-9, MH) and Lauren Wilson (5-2, DS).


"Even though we only lost two seniors, they were key ingredients in our program last year," Diana Schutte said. "We are looking at filling an OH and libero position. Josie Engel has been hitting so well that we are trying to train some underclassmen to be able to step up and set for us so we can capitalize on her hitting. With only one junior, that leaves us with 17 underclassmen. Those girls will have to step up and fill some varsity spots."


Schedule


Aug. 29 CKL Pre-Season @ Halstead 9 a.m.


Sept. 1 @ St. John-Hudson w/Burrton 4 p.m.


Sept. 8 @ Kingman w/Pratt 5 p.m.


Sept. 10 @ Conway Springs w/Wichita Trinity Academy 5 p.m.


Sept. 15 @ Haven w/Nickerson 5 p.m.


Sept. 19 @ Marion Inv. 9 a.m.


Sept. 22 @ Larned w/Hillsboro 5 p.m.


Sept. 29 Hesston, Hoisington 5 p.m.


Oct. 3 @ Canton-Galva Inv. 9 a.m.


Oct. 6 Smoky Valley, Southeast of Saline 5 p.m.


Oct. 13 @ Lyons w/Skyline 5 p.m.


Oct. 17 @ Hillsboro Inv. 9 a.m.


Oct. 24 Sub-State TBA


Oct. 30-31 State TBA