BUSHLAND, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Bushland volleyball team is laying the foundation to make it back to the state championship game.

The Lady Falcons graduated nine seniors last season and are relying on this group of seniors to lead the team.

“We’re pretty young this year, we graduated nine,” said Head Coach Jason Culpepper. “What I do like is that our chemistry is already good. Energies great and, and those type of things are really gelling early in the year. So, I like that and the early season games are for learning, and we’re doing a great job of learning.”

The team’s motto is “Be one” and senior middle blocker Jayce Ornelas said right now everyone is learning their roles.

“We’re just focusing on our chemistry right now,” said Ornelas. “Definitely a new team with a lot of younger classmen. So, we’re just trying to build it up off the bat and basically just knowing our role playing as one, that’s our saying this year is be one.”

Senior defensive specialist Hannah Solomon said the team’s early success is helping build their confidence.

“I think the early success has really showed us confidence because we are very timid,” said Solomon. “So, it’s allowed us to go be one, which is our thing. It’s just allowed us to really get the flow of how everyone plays.”

Coach Culpepper shared that even with a young team the expectations are the same and seniors are doing a good job of leading.

“We expect the same every year and that they are the leaders of the team and this is their team,” said Culpepper. “They teach each year, the seniors do, what do we expect? What are our goals? What is our culture? They teach the younger kids and they take ownership in the program.”

Senior middle blocker Abby Howell said that over the years her style of leadership has changed and this season she is more vocal.

“I feel like because in past in past years, I’ve been more of a silent leader,” said Howell. “More like let the other seniors lead the team and I feel this year, for all of us we’re all a lot more vocal with our teammates and how we lead.”

Senior Hanna Sanford said the team’s early success is due to them coming to practice ready to work.

“We’re coming into practice every day having a goal having a good mindset and just working hard getting, two percent better every day,” said Sanford.

The Lady Falcons fell short of a state championship last season and are using that experience to help them this season.

“Last year, we learned that everybody is gunning for us, which we knew,” said Culpeppper. “Back-to-back state champs so this year our seniors are leading us. We know what we have to do to get back there is again, continuing to get better at our offense. Our culture and our competition, competitiveness, those things are something that drives us.”

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