Live Oak's volleyball team is a couple weeks into practice and second year head coach Karen Peters sees the team's power at the net, both in blocking and hitting, as something to be excited about for the upcoming season. The Lady Lions have size up front that could play to their advantage.

Live Oak's volleyball team is a couple weeks into practice and second year head coach Karen Peters sees the team's power at the net, both in blocking and hitting, as something to be excited about for the upcoming season. The Lady Lions have size up front that could play to their advantage.


"I think if they all dug in and played at their top level, they've got a good chance at making playoffs and maybe even advancing further than we did last year," Peters said.


In 2008, the girls finished 6-15 overall, but played well enough in league (5-5) to earn a northern section playoff birth. As a low seed, they drew Central Valley and were knocked out in the first round. Peters said they'll try to earn a higher seed this season and thus a more favorable matchup.


The girls will also have some consistency at coach, with Peters in her second year. She was hired as the junior varsity coach a year ago, but was forced to step up to handle varsity as the season was beginning. This year she is more familiar with the girls, having coached all that are on the team including the ones moving up from J.V.


"It's a huge advantage," she said. "You don't have to spend all that time of me getting to know them. We're able to just step on the court and get into it. Makes it a lot easier."


Live Oak graduated a majority of their 2008 team, and will have just eight players this year. Jessica Mejia, Stephanie Taylor, Judy Saefong and Ashley Howell are the four varsity returners, while Claudia Sandoval and Lisa Saefong move up as incoming juniors. Sophomores Bibi Alejo and Paulina Heredia will also play for the varsity team.


"We're in a lot better shape than we were this time last year," Peters said. "It's a small team, but they can all play the whole court, so it's a good small team.


"I think we're really strong hitters and servers, but our passing needs a lot of work. The passing is going to be the vain of our existence, I think. We can't hit unless we can pass, obviously. So we're working on that."


Live Oak opens the season with a home matchup against Biggs on Tuesday, September 1.