DOLLAR BAY - The Dollar Bay Bays just started their volleyball program four years ago, and second-year head coach Emily Viola knows building a program from scratch is a slow process.
"I told the team last year and this year you might not see the success while you guys are on the team, but years from now you'll be able to see what you started," said Viola.
While expectations for this year are modest, Viola has 14 girls in grades 9-12 looking to improve each day at practice and with each of the 17 match days on the Bays' schedule.
Dollar Bay plays a mix of varsity and JV matches as it makes steady progress toward future conference affiliation.
"We're not in a conference right now," Viola said. "It's something I'd definitely like to do in the future, but right now we're just trying to get the girls interested and started early."
The Bays will look to senior hitters Kellee Beggs and Sam Ozanich, and junior setter Julia Daavettila for leadership.
"(Beggs) has been coming to open gyms all summer and she's the middle hitter and one of the captains on the team," Viola said. "We're looking for (Daavettila) to run the offense and be a leader on the floor."
Ozanich's hitting and serving will be key, and several freshmen are expected to contribute regularly as well, including Carli Daavettila and Elisha Howe.
"We have quite a few freshmen that participated in the middle school program this past spring that are going to bring a lot of help to the team," said Viola, who ran that middle school program. Now the district just has a varsity team, but it expects to grow into several programs soon.
Viola has seen improvement in practice so far, but as far as expectations go, the only thing she wants to see is continued improvement.
"That's pretty much what I'm looking to do is just improve on everything, especially defense," she said. "They understand they may not be at the same experience level as other schools, but they're still out there every day working hard, and they want to improve."