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Bright prospects for Pirate volleyball team

The season has yet to begin and already there has been fierce competition.

For the 2012 Pirate volleyball team, 47 girls came out to compete for the 32 spots on either C teams, junior varsity or varsity.

The top eight made it to the varsity team.

“We couldn’t keep them all,” coach Connie O’Donnell said of the team selections. Though it was tough to cut the girls, the coach said that, on the first days of practice, there was a great feel in the gym.

On the team are four returning seniors: Gabby Pajak, middle hitter; Ellie McGinn, outside hitter; Megan Davey, setter; and Angie Gallegos, libero. McGinn, O’Donnell explained, had to take last year off, but she’s back for her senior year.

Junior Anissa Lucero, setter, is also returning.

New to the varsity team this year are sophomore Payton Shahan, middle; junior Rosie Graveson, outside hitter; and junior Alexa Alexander, right side.

Over the summer, the athletes were practicing during open gym three times a week and, a fact Coach O’Donnell is particularly pleased about, members of the volleyball team started to use the weight room regularly.

“I’m really excited. I can already see a big difference, and I’m really excited about their physical ability this season,” O’Donnell said.

Pajak, O’Donnell said, will be a very strong player, being good at every position, as well as being a leader for the team.

In addition to weights and open gym, the girls also had a week-long scrimmage camp in Alamosa at the end of July.

“The team is set, and the gym feels really good and really positive with a good work ethic,” O’Donnell said, adding, “I’m also excited about the freshman class that came in. There are a lot of really good kids, and I’m looking forward to see what happens with them over the next few years.”

The Pirates’ first game is on Thursday, Aug. 30, at 6:30 p.m. in Cortez. However, there will be a chance to support the Pirates Saturday, at home at a scrimmage starting at 8 a.m. Varsity teams will play at the high school. And, if it takes a second to recognize the Pirates on the court when the regular season begins, it’s their new uniforms. In a turn back to tradition, the uniforms have long sleeves.

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