MT. VERNON —
Rachel Kirsch is expected to move into Kelby Kujawa's spot in the starting lineup. Whitney Jones will take over for Taylor McGowen.
“(Jones) was mostly JV time last year … but she did a great job on JV.”
Hannah Owens and Kirsten McGowen will be key to Mt. Vernon's front row. Higgins said Owens will be a key blocking presence for the Lady Rams. McGowen will be a middle hitter.
“(Kirsten) has been busy coming to open gyms and working out,” Higgins said. “She's just such a hard worker. Her hitting is coming on as well. Her blocking has actually gotten a lot better as well.
“Hannah is the same way. Hannah has been at volleyball camp all summer. She's been to camps all around the area. So she's really kind of been trying to focus on her hitting and passing. Hannah will be a big player for us. She'll be a big blocker.”
Higgins added that Owens is one of several players who brings an athletic presence to the Lady Rams squad.
“I think a lot of the younger girls are looking to her because she is getting better and has that leader personality,” Higgins said. “We have a lot of younger athletes and hopefully they take something from Hannah and Kirsten and the other older girls that know even if you're an athlete you still have to work at it.”
Hannah Carbonaro spent last season as the junior varsity setter and moves up to varsity this fall. Palmer was the Lady Rams setter a season ago.
Alexis Stewart returns as the team's libero.
The Lady Rams will also get a boost from Madalina Overstreet and Olivia Rios who return to the squad and will play in the back row. Makiah Rush also moves up to the varsity level this season.
Mt. Vernon opens its season at Webber on Sept. 2.