Ahead of Tuesday night’s opener against Peru St. Bede, the Rockets will look to their main returning veteran, senior middle forward Kierney McDonald (a team best 111 kills), not only to help fill the statistical void left by his deceased teammates, but a greater leadership role for young players.
New-look Rockets try to stay on top of Three Rivers | High school volleyball – QCVarsity.com
“Kierney was a good leader for us last year,” said Lopez, “and she stepped up and took the reins, and was a driving force in training.”
For her part, McDonald knew she wouldn’t have much time to acclimate to a larger-scale role.
“It was cool to finish last year on that note (winning a conference championship), but there was a quick turnaround from the end of last season,” she said. “About six weeks for me to visualize my role and start preparing for the open gyms.”
Rockridge players looking to fill key roles include senior forward Madison Heisch, junior Laina Nelson (Kira Nelson’s younger sister) and sophomore Chloe Strachan.
“The biggest concern is the back row, because a lot of our seniors last year played all around,” McDonald said. “We also lost our passer and Nicole left some big shoes to fill. We’re also looking to develop a powerful all-round outside hitter like Kira.”
But if all the pieces fall into place, Lopez believes the club can retain their new status atop Trois Rivières Ouest as they begin their title defense on August 31 at Orion.