Aug 16, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorSHOSHONI -- Shoshoni has plenty of volleyball experience for the 2012 season.
The Lady Blue have six seniors on the roster to make another run for a spot at the Class 2-A state volleyball tournament at the end of October in Casper.
Kolbi Pickingpaugh, Natalee Goff, Kaylee Fegler, Sarah Thompson, Shaide Pingetzer and Kelly McAuslan all will play an important role for the Lady Blue.
"I have a great group of girls returning," SHS coach Christina Mills said. "It's nice to see the program progressing. The young ladies are doing better each year. It's a tremendous year to be a part of Shoshoni volleyball."
Mills has landed SHS in the state tournament for two consecutive years.
Her team qualified for state in 2011 after placing second in the Class 2-A West regional tournament.
Lovell swept SHS 25-17, 25-16, 25-18 in the championship match.
SHS went 1-2 at the double-elimination state tournament. The Lady Blue lost to Pine Bluffs and Big Horn and beat Greybull.
"Anytime that you make the state tournament makes a difference for your program," Mills said.
This is the third season for Mills in the head coaching role.
"When you have girls that have been on the varsity floor since they were sophomores, that makes a tremendous difference," Mills said.
The six seniors have played on the varsity level since they were sophomores.
"The big thing is that they have all played together for a long time," Mills said.
"They all have different strengths that they are going to bring at different times. There is not one that I expect to do more than the other. They know that in order to win, I have to have all of them together."
Goff has played in the outside role the last two years. Thompson is the middle hitter for SHS. Pickingpaugh, Fegler, Pingetzer and McAuslan can all play a number positions on the court.
Mills knows defense will be the key if SHS can put together a third straight trip to Casper.
"For us, it's always defense," Mills said. "If we can pass well. then our offense will take care of itself.
We need to make those plays where we can go from a good team to a great team."
The Lady Blue, Kemmerer, Big Piney, Wyoming Indian and Wind River make up the Class 2-A Southwest division.
Burns, Lusk, Pine Bluffs, Saratoga and Southeast are in the Class 2-A Southeast league.
In the 2-A Northeast conference are Big Horn, Moorcorft, Sundance, Tongue River and Wright. Greybull, Lovell, Riverside, Rocky Mountain and Thermopolis are on the 2-A Northwest division.
The Southwest and the Northwest combine at the end of the regular season to form the Class 2-A West regional tournament.
Wright won the 2011 state crown. Lovell finished second. Big Horn placed third and Pine Bluffs was fourth.
The Lady Blue begin the season in the North Big Horn tournament Aug. 24-25 in Lovell.
"We get to see those teams that are tough in the north right away," Mills said.
SHS will play at Burlington on Aug. 30 in a non-conference match.
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