NEW MATAMORAS - Frontier will not be lacking competition on the volleyball court this week.
On Tuesday, the Lady Cougars hosted a scrimmage against Bellaire and Wood County Christian School of Williamstown. Friday, the Blue & Gold netters are scheduled to travel to Steubenville for another exhibition match.
And, then, at 10 a.m. Saturday, Frontier is slated to open up its season for real in a triangular against Vinton County and host Marietta High at Sutton Gymnasim.
"We'll be a young team, but we're improving," said fifth-year head Frontier head volleyball coach Donna Murphy, who guided the 2012 Lady Cougars to their fifth consecutive sectional championship and an Ohio Valley Athletic Conference (OVAC) second-place finish last fall.
FHS bowed out in the district semifinal, dropping three straight games to Tuscarawas Central Catholic.
Frontier graduated six seniors from the 2012 squad which ended up 14-10 overall and 9-7 in the always-tough Pioneer Valley Conference (PVC). One of those players was All-Ohio honorable mention Kelsie Rinard. The others were Kaylee Hurst, Chelsea Hays, Christin Douglass, Bre Scott, and Laken Camino.
2013 Frontier volleyball schedule
Aug. 17 at Marietta/Vinton-Sutton gym10 a.m.
Aug. 27 FORT FRYE 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 29 SHENANDOAH 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 5 at River 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 7 at Buckeye Trail 11 a.m.
Sept. 9 CALDWELL5:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 MONROE CENTRAL5:30 p.m.
Sept. 12 at St. Johns5:30 p.m.
Sept. 16 CAMERON5:30 p.m.
Sept. 17 at Shenandoah 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 23 at Caldwell 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 25 ST. JOHNS5:30 p.m.
Sept. 26 RIVER5:30 p.m.
Sept. 28 BEALLSVILLE11 a.m.
Sept. 30 at Fort Frye 5:30 p.m.
Oct. 1 at Cameron5:30 p.m.
Oct. 5 BUCKEYE TRAIL11 a.m.
Oct. 8 at Monroe Central 5:30 p.m.
Oct. 10 at Beallsville 5:30 p.m.
"They were all really good student/athletes," Murphy said.
Returning are two starters in setter Emily Hinton and 5-foot-10 outside hitter Corisa Fickiesen. They will be two of the three Lady Cougar seniors on the roster. The other is outside hitter Delaney Dominiack, who was a JV captain last season.
Overall, the FHS VB numbers are good with nine freshmen, three sophomores, and two juniors.
Some other players who figure to see significant action on the floor will be junior outside hitter Ashley Keith, 5-9 sophomore middle hitter Cailey Viney, sophomore outside hitter Katie Bowersock, freshman libero Maddie Greathouse, freshman setter Cala Curtis, and 5-10 middle hitter Nikki Haught.
Haught could be a diamond in the rough and the one who solidifies the middle with Rinard's departure.
"She's still got a lot to learn but is a really good athlete,"Murphy said. "She's definitely one to watch."
As for the PVC and the Lady Cougars in general....
"I think Fort Frye will be the team to beat," Murphy said. "The PVC is a tough league for us, because most of the schools are bigger than us.
"Even though the girls lack experience, they're working hard, and learning a lot about the game."