Lindsay Thurber Raiders senior boys volleyball primed for new year

The Lindsay Thurber Raiders senior boys volleyball team would be just fine with a repeat of last season.

It'll be tough to repeat a trip to the Alberta Schools Athletic Association 4A provincial final and an eventual silver medal, but Terrance McMullen believes with a little tweaking his team is up for the challenge.

"So far we've been a little bit better than expected, but still a lot of work to be done," McMullen said. "A lot of it is just the energy and how we play. It's fundamentals too, pass to attack stuff."

They've already played two tournaments this year and Wednesday night they took to the court at Hunting Hills for their first exhibition league game. It was a relatively smooth 3-1 win (25-14,16-25,25-14, 25-19), but this early in the season there are always kinks to work out.

A big part of last years' squad, Athlete of the Year Reece Lehman is off to play at the University of Calgary, but the Raiders have a new crop of veterans they're looking to this season. Grade 12s, JJ Graham, Jared Lower and Eric Moore will lead the way on left side, while Andy Reed and Josh Fuerbringer should be a force in the middle.

"We've turned around a lot of guys, about half our team," McMullen said.

"It's still a big step for a lot of the younger guys and even some of the older guys who are stepping into more prominent roles and to be relied upon. We had some really good leaders last year so there's some big shoes to fill. It's going to take a little bit of time for guys to figure out where there part of it is."

Isaiah Paterson is a grade 12 libero and for an undersized team, their passing and ability to scramble should be a big identity for the Raiders this season.

"We're going to be scrappy. We're not the biggest team so we're going to have to do more counter punching," he said.

They'll host Lacombe next Wednesday at home. The first three games of the season are exhibition before league play officially starts on Oct. 18.

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