By CHUCK RIDENOUR
Daily Globe Sports Editor
Shelby will look to put back-to-back losing records behind them and rely on a veteran roster when the high school volleyball campaign swings into action Saturday.The Lady Whippets, who were 8-15 a season ago and are 14-32 the last two years, have endured some growing pains, but with nine returning letterwinners they are aiming to buck the recent losing trend.Seven of the letter-winning cast for SHS are juniors and the lumps taken as sophomores could pay dividends, feels coach Brandie Albert, who enters her 13th season at the helm with a career mark of 151-131."We are another year older on the court and we have more court sense and experience than last year," said Albert.Shelby lost Rachel Gies and Taylor Evans to graduation and has only two seniors on their roster this season - libero Madison Alfrey with two letters and setter Kadie Hoffman with one letter.The junior class is where the bulk of the experience resides for the Whippets, beginning with two-year lettermen Maddi Fidler (middle hitter), Kennadie Goth (setter/hitter), Emma Hlad (outside hitter) and Grace Bihl (hitter).Returning 11th graders with one letter apiece are Chelsea Barnd (middle hitter) and Bri Wagoner (hitter).New to the SHS roster is junior CeCe King. Her family moved into the district and she was a monogram winner at Willard last season.Completing the squad are juniors Jenna Lybarger and Kaylee Payne, sophomores Faith Bailey and Megan Crain, and freshman Cierra Gurney.Listed as strengths of the team are a quick and strong libero and the ability to play hard and be aggressive, noted Albert.Even with a wealth of experience back, the coach also has some concerns."We need to play at a consistent high level of play. It's important we have court cohesiveness and that we have solid decision-making by our setters," said Albert.Goals, according to the coach, are developing definable roles, communicating on the floor, growing every game and developing cohesiveness and playing with poise consistently.Based on tradition, defending Northern Ohio League champion Norwalk could be the favorite."But I'm not really sure," said Albert. "Across the board, all of us have a chance with so many graduating from other league schools."Shelby hosts Wynford in its opener Saturday. The reserve match starts at 10 a.m. and the varsity contest will follow:The remainder of the schedule is as follows: Aug. 31- Seneca East; Sept. 1- Norwalk; Sept. 3- Tiffin Columbian; Sept. 5- Fremont St. Joseph; Sept. 8- Ontario; Sept. 12- Shelby Invitational (Crestview, South Central, Lexington); Sept. 14- at Clear Fork; Sept. 15- Willard; Sept. 17- at Bellevue; Sept. 22- at Sandusky; Sept. 24- at Norwalk; Sept. 26- Ashland, Wellington; Sept. 29- at Tiffin Columbian; Oct. 1- at Ontario; Oct. 8- at Willard; Oct. 13- Bellevue; Oct. 15- Sandusky; Oct. 17- at Monroeville.