After having the program’s best season in more than a decade, the Sherman volleyball team is hoping to continue that type of court consistency. But there will be challenges to make the postseason again this fall after a strong senior group left holes to fill in the rotation.

“Our kids are hungry for more success,” Sherman head coach Ashley Aleman said. “They’re coming in with that winning mentality. I think that is going to help us to hopefully have another great and successful season.”

The Lady Cats, who are set to start their season with a dual match against Paris North Lamar and Sulphur Springs today starting at 4 p.m., are coming off a 29-11 record last year and lost in the first round to eventual state semifinalist Aledo.

Sherman made the playoffs for the first time since 2005 and improved its win total for the third straight season, something Aleman is looking forward to building on this season.

She says the biggest strength for the Lady Cats heading into the opener is how athletic they are and how well they all work together.

“I would say our chemistry, our athleticism,” Aleman said. “We’re real quick on the court. I think defensively we’re going to be really good.”

Aleman says that the biggest adjustment for Sherman is going to be getting used to the new faces in the rotation. The buildup to the third-place finish and playoff berth came from a group of multi-year starters, many of which graduated in June, so the turnover rate hadn’t been very high until now.

The senior core that the Lady Cats need to replace includes first team all-district picks middle blocker Madi Gladen and setter Dallas Aleman. Outside hitter Rylie Bernard also graduated after she earned a spot on the all-district second team.

“This year we have new kids filling those roles but I’m positive that those kids are strong enough to fill those roles,” Aleman said.

Sherman will be bringing back junior Kylie Jackman, who was a second team all-district selection, as well as honorable mention all-district picks Cameron Wecker, Sarah Graham and Alexis Jackman, who are all seniors.

Wecker is expected to be the libero while the Lady Cats are expecting to run two setters this season and Aleman plans to use junior Ashley Boatright and freshman Samantha Graham to fill those slots.

Rounding out the rotation will be senior Ana Folmar and juniors Avery Charske, Autumn Frazer and Jazmyne Aguilar.

Outside of competing in the Princeton, Granbury and Argyle Tournaments, the team will also face Celina, Chisholm Trail, Community, Little Elm, Paris, Mount Pleasant and Gainesville.

Realignment sent Sherman south starting this season and Aleman believes the new district suits the Lady Cats very well. Sherman will start 10-5A play on Sept. 18 and is joined in the district by Lovejoy, Princeton, McKinney North, Wylie East and Denison.

“I am excited with our new district,” Aleman said. “It’s just a six-team district so you don’t have to win as many games to get into the playoffs. I think Lovejoy is going to be our biggest competitor. I think everybody else is kind of on the same playing field. But at the end of the day I think we’re in a position where we’re going to be successful.”