Sequoyah and Verdigris both had tough 2018 volleyball seasons, but both are optimistic about 2019.
Verdigris finished 12-18 in Caleb Horton's first season as head coach. Sequoyah was 7-17 and will have a new head coach this season in Teana Tramel.
The Cardinals will have a very young team overall this season. One upperclassman they will look to for leadership is senior captain and middle blocker Lily Scott.
Verdigris will have a couple of talented but unproven setters on hand in sophomore Madi York and freshman Logan Hamilton.
Two other freshmen who Horton has high hopes for are libero Abby Barnes and middle blocker Morgan Borgstadt.
"(Abby) is a hard worker and is going to be a great leader for us in the future," Horton said. "We are excited to see how much (Morgan) grows this season."
Horton and the Cardinals have taken on the attitude of "every position is open" instead of "this is my spot".
"We've had quite a few step up and show us they were serious about wanting to earn varsity time," Horton said. "While we are looking to make runs at state in the next few seasons, our immediate goal (for 2019) is to have a strong star and hopefully peak in time for regionals."
Tramel was head coach at Chouteau the past six seasons before coming to Sequoyah.
She also was a head coach in college at both Nicholls State and Bethany College, as well as an assistant coach at Washington State.
The Eagles have good depth overall.
The senior trio of libero Sarah Shearer, outside hitter Taygen Scrivner and setter Chi Teague will be counted on in particular, though.
"Sarah is a great ball control kid and a leader on the court," Tramel said. "Taygen has great experience and a high volleyball IQ. Chi has great hands and the ability to create 1-on-1 situations for our hitters."
Sophomore middle blocker Natalie Snipes has been strong in the preseason, and Tramel believes that she will become one of the top players at that position.
Tramel called Snipes a "sleeping giant".
Tramel is looking for Sequoyah to keep things simple and share the same vision not only at the varsity level, but throughout the entire program.
"Our goal this summer was to get back to basics," Tramel said. "We have to be able to do the easy skills very well. That will allow us to build on our long-term vision. Expectations are simple. Show up, work hard and smart, get better and grow a program that can be a state contender year in and out. This is a team sport, and for us to compete at the highest level, we have to become a family unit from seventh to 12th grade."
Verdigris has its season opener Monday at Rogers County rival Inola. Sequoyah opens at home against Eagle Point on Tuesday. Start time for both is about 7 p.m.