If you were to sneak a peak at a Chambersburg boys volleyball practice this year, it is likely you won't recognize what you see.
After an inconsistent season and losing seven players to graduation, the 2016 Trojan volleyball team is adapting a new mentality - with maturity, chemistry and experience changing the face of Chambersburg volleyball.
"Almost all the guys have been playing volleyball year round. They are all prepped and prepared because they've had their hands on the ball," Chambersburg coach Marta Cummings said. "The team chemistry on the court was a little bit of our weakness last year, but it's a a big focus this year."
After finishing last season 5-8, and 4-6 in the tough Mid Penn Commonwealth Division, Cummings said a new mentality was a high priority this year.
"We usually have a target on our backs in the MPC and those matches are crucial," Cummings said. "We really struggled mentally last year in some of those games. When the going is good we were successful, but we could never pick ourselves back up to give us a chance to win. We are already on the right track this year to not let that reoccur."
With seven vacancies on the roster, Cummings said many players who saw limited time on the court last year will play a more key role than ever, stating that the inconsistencies in the Trojans' lineup last year affected team chemistry.
"After a tough season last year we just want to bounce back," middle blocker Riley Washington said. "And this is our (the seniors) last year, so we want to go out make a run and have a good, fun season."
Will Gerhart will be the Trojans' starting libero after playing limited time in the position last year, while middle blockers Washington and Landon Miller are expected to have success. Washington stands as the tallest player on the team, measuring 6-foot-6. Ian Patterson will return as the team's setter and as a threat on the service line.
Evan Misal and Patterson will join Gerhart as court captains.
"Last year I was moved all around, but this year I have really high expectations for myself and our whole back row because we have pretty good defense," Gerhart said.
"I think the season should be very promising if we keep working on the team chemistry, and stay positive and mentally strong," Cummings said. "We shouldn't shouldn't lose too many matches, at least in the division, as long as they show up and play the best they can. We have high expectations."
TROJANS AT A GLANCE
Coach: Marta Cummings, fourth year, (.600).
Last year: 5-8 (4-6 Mid Penn Commonwealth Division).
Returning players: Ian Patterson (sr., S), Dalton Strite (jr., OPP), Tyler Bushey (sr., DS), Landon Miller (sr., MB), Riley Washington (sr., MB), Will Gerhart (sr., L), Evan Misal (sr., OH).
Other top players: Aaron Meyers (jr., OH/OPP), Bryce Whitfield (sr., OPP), Dylan Culler (so., OH), Kellen Stepler (so., OH), Trey Stepler (fr., DS).
Opener: Saturday, March 26 at Hempfield Tournament at 8 p.m.