The Columbia Falls girls volleyball team has a pretty simple goal.
"To win more than one match," coach Addy Connelly said on the first day of practice Monday. "We won games last year, just not matches."
Connelly, in her sixth year as head coach, said that while last year's record was disappointing, the girls got along well and they've been getting along well this summer playing together. It's been as much about building team chemistry as it has skills.
"They've been working hard all summer long. They've gotten rid of the negativity and have been building themselves up as a team," she said. "We've got some good building blocks started from last year."
On the first day of varsity practice, 26 girls tried out. The team has seven returning seniors from last year - Niki Birky, Jessie Gist, Erika Nelson, Shaun Rowe, Gabrielle Stenger, Ashley Hanson and Jaylynn Cantu. Birky, Nelson, Rowe and Cantu also play softball together.
The conference should be tough. Polson is probably the favorite, but Whitefish is always tough as well. The team opens the season on Saturday, Aug. 27, away with a doubleheader against Hamilton and Corvallis.
Connelly is assisted by Wes Knutson and Heather Gilchrist.