Rejoice Christian Volleyball (copy)

Zac Briscoe, pictured, looks on at players on the volleyball court. Owasso Reporter file photo

Rejoice Christian enters the 2019 volleyball season off of a five-win campaign. Pair that with a roster that doesn't include a senior, and head coach Zac Briscoe’s focus for the fall is on the future of his program.

“You hope what you see is continual improvement,” Briscoe said. “We think we’ve got some good, talented girls. As the season goes on, you hope they keep getting better and better every day. If that happens, we should be pretty good the next year.”

While the Eagles will be relatively young going into their season opener Monday at Dewey, Briscoe’s lineup does include several with prior varsity experience.

Junior outside hitter Emma England, who returns after earning All-World honors last season, will be a focal point of the Eagles’ attack.

“We’re looking for her to lead us offensively and be one of our most important defensive players as well,” Briscoe said.

Fellow juniors Traci Palmer (defensive specialist/libero), Ashley Shern (setter) and Tara Shaw (middle hitter/blocker) each have a year of starting varsity experience under their belts. Grace Cook could line up either in the middle or outside.

Rejoice’s schedule remains tough as always with eight regular season matches against state tournament teams from a year ago. The Eagles did switch up a couple of in-season tournaments with two-day trips to Chouteau (Aug. 16-17) and Holland Hall (Aug. 23-24). Rejoice will continue to host its home invitational on Sept. 20-21.

Briscoe said he has been encouraged with what he has seen in summer workouts and feels optimistic the Eagles are building a solid foundation.

“I like our energy,” he said. “You come off a season like last year, they could be negative and down. But they’re working hard and excited to play. They’ve been a fun group to work with.”

Rejoice opens the season Monday at Dewey, then hosts Cascia Hall Tuesday to begin the 2019 home slate.