By Jessica Hanson
Pagosa Spring High School volleyball coach Caitlin Forrest welcomed four returning seniors and one returning junior for the start of the fall season this year.
There are a total of nine varsity players with five swings on the team.
Forrest explained in an email to The SUN she feels that the returning players to the Pirates will play essential roles this season.
“All 9 varsity players are essential this season. Each a leader in their own way, as they take on different yet incredibly valuable roles,” she wrote.
She added, “Outside Hitter Kori Lucero will be our most veteran player as she has 2 solid years of experience at the Varsity level under her belt.”
The team will have an extra tool against their opponents this season: team chemistry.
Forrest explained, “I’ve NEVER seen a team that so quickly found their rhythm and mesh so well together. These girls love each other and love making each other look good. They have so much fun on the court and it makes for really fluid play.”
On the technical side of the Pirates’ skill sets, Forrest noted she sees serving and defense as the team’s greatest strengths.
“I will always want to see my teams be more competitive. I think as our program develops, we create a more competitive environment overall,” she wrote. “Our JV is tough and that will help in challenging our Varsity to be more competitive. We also have a few systems in place in practice that hopefully elevate the level of play and hold the girls accountable.”
Last season, the Lady Pirates finished with an overall record of 4-10 and a record of 0-7 in league play.
The team was ranked top 24 in 3A and was able to attend the regionals in Lamar.
Forrest commented on last year’s season shaping the strategy for this year, writing, “I think my girls are ready to take on this season with no regrets and hold nothing back. We didn’t have a great record last season as our league was very competitive, we also didn’t have a cohesiveness within the group–much of which was due to Covid. This group is ready to switch the narrative and be a winning program again.”
As far as any COVID-caused changes to this season, Forrest wrote, “Covid does not seem to be impacting volleyball at the state level so far. We know to play things day by day and be flexible, but we aren’t about to let last year’s challenges and issues define our program.”
The following schedule was accurate as of Aug. 18, but is subject to change.
The team will begin its season on Aug. 19 with a home game at Pagosa Springs High School against 4A Durango at 6 p.m.
The Pirates will travel to Alamosa for their first away game on Aug. 27, with action set to begin at 6 p.m.
On Sept. 3 and 4, the Pirates will travel to the Demon invitational tournament at Glenwood Springs High School. The times of the games will be announced later.
The Lady Pirates will host the 2A Dolores Bears at Pagosa Springs High School on Sept. 9 at 6 p.m.
The team will travel to Montezuma-Cortez High School on Sept. 11, to take on the Montezuma-Cortez Lady Panthers at 6 p.m.
The next home game for the Pirates will be Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. against the Bayfield Wolverines.
The team will travel to La Jara to take on the Centauri Falcons on Sept. 18 at 6 p.m.
On Sept. 24 at 6 p.m., the Lady Pirates will travel to Del Norte to compete against the 2A Tigers.
The next home game for the Pirates will be on Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. against the Montezuma-Cortez Panthers.
On Oct. 2, the Pirates will host the Alamosa Mean Moose at Pagosa Springs High School at 6 p.m.
The Lady Pirates will travel to Durango High School on Oct. 5 to compete against the Lady Demons at 6 p.m.
On Oct. 9 at 1 p.m, the Lady Pirates will host the Buena Vista Lady Demons at Pagosa Springs High School.
On Oct. 12, the Pirates will travel to Bayfield to take on the Bayfield Wolverines at 6 p.m. at Bayfield High School.
On Oct. 14, Pagosa’s Lady Pirates will travel to Monte Vista to compete against the Monte Vista Pirates at 6 p.m.
The next home game for the Pirates will be on Oct. 16 at 1 p.m. against the Centauri Falcons at Pagosa Springs High School.
The last home game of the season for the Lady Pirates will be on Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. The Lady Pirates will be hosting the Ignacio Bobcats at the Pagosa Springs High School.
The Lady Pirates will end their season traveling to the Coal Ridge Tournament at Coal Ridge High School on Oct. 29 and 30. Times of games will be announced later.