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story.lead_photo.caption FileThe California Pintos volleyball team prepares for the upcoming season. Last year, the team made it to the sectional round of the state playoffs, falling to defending state champions Logan-Rogersville and ended the season with a record of 26-7-3.

A younger California Pintos volleyball team will look to keep the momentum this year after a largely successful 2019 season.

Last year, the California Pintos volleyball team made it to the sectional round of the Class 3 State Tournament. The team's season ended with a 2-0 loss to the 2018 season's defending state champion, Logan-Rogersville. The Pintos ended the season with a record of 26-7-3.

Head coach Julie Bailey said the team will be younger after losing last year's seniors. Bailey said she wants to see the team's younger players develop the skills they need for the positions they play.

"I think it will be fun to see them improve all season and grow as a player and as a team. They will be fun to watch," Bailey said.

Even with the team being younger, Bailey said the Pintos have goals of being a contender for both the conference and district championships.

Bailey pointed to the group's returning seniors as a pair that can help pace the team in its efforts to follow up on last year's Sectionals appearance.

"We lost a great group of seniors last year and have to rebuild a little," Bailey said. "This year's seniors, Dylann Henley and Kaitlyn Stauffer, have already taken on leadership roles. Our younger players are very talented and I am looking forward to seeing what they can do. We hope to be a top contender for conference and district champs."

Despite being a younger team, the Pintos have shown a strong work ethic over the summer, Bailey said.

"All the girls are working hard every day to get better," Bailey said. "They are willing to put forth the time and effort to become the best they can. They have great attitudes and build each other up. This group is a very skilled group and is one of my youngest teams. It will be fun to watch them improve all year."

Over the summer, the team has been working on getting used to the new best-of-five set rules format that the team will be competing in. Bailey said the Pintos also worked to find the best positional fit for each player.

"(The) girls have been working hard daily in the weight room," Bailey said. "They participated in three league matches, local camps, open gyms and in team camps. Our players are hard working and driven to be the best team they can."

Bailey said the team was a little shocked by how tiring the best-of-five format is and is working hard to build up endurance as a result.

"We have only played three matches with the three-out-of-five format, and the players were a little shocked at how tiring it was by the fifth set," Bailey said. "I think knowing that has motivated them to work hard in the weight room and has helped them to understand the importance of being in great shape and having endurance."

It will be a team effort for California as every member of the team will contribute for the Pintos this season, Bailey said.

"All of them will be key in their position," Bailey said. "Ella Lewis has really been working hard on becoming a dominant middle. Emma Whitson is an outstanding setter and outside hitter who is instrumental in leading our offense. Lauren Friedrich and Abby Trachsel will be key in our offensive attack. Rylee Hees and Emma Parish will be a huge part of our defense and passing. Katie Stauffer will do it all but most importantly, will be a leader on the court along with Dylann Henley, who will be important to our defense as well. Hopefully, by the time the season starts, Bailey Lage will be healed and ready to play."

California Pintos volleyball schedule

Aug. 27 - 5:30 p.m., at Jamboree at Rock Bridge

Sept. 1 - 5 p.m., vs. Linn

Sept. 3 - 5 p.m., at Boonville

Sept. 8 - 5 p.m., at Rock Bridge

Sept. 10 - 5 p.m., vs. Eldon

Sept. 12 - 8:30 a.m., at Fulton Tournament

Sept. 15 - 5 p.m., vs. Cole Camp

Sept. 17 - 5 p.m., vs. Blair Oaks

Sept. 22 - 5 p.m., vs. Capital City

Sept. 29 - 5 p.m., vs. Southern Boone

Oct. 3 - 8:30 a.m., at Warrensburg Tournament

Oct. 6 - 5 p.m., at Versailles

Oct. 8 - 5:30 p.m., vs. North Callaway

Oct. 13 - 5 p.m., vs. Fatima

Oct. 15 - 5 p.m., at School of the Osage

Oct. 17 - 9 a.m., at Versailles Tournament

Oct. 19 - 5 p.m., at Smith-Cotton

Oct. 20 - 5:30 p.m., vs. Hallsville

Oct. 22 - 5 p.m., at Marshall

Oct. 26-Oct. 29 - TBA, District tournament at California

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