VB PREVIEW: Lockhart the centerpiece of this year's team
The Perham volleyball team will have a big hole to fill in the middle with the departure of Katrina Moenkedick.
That job should fall on the shoulders of senior middle hitter Miranda Lockhart who has played significant varsity minutes since she was a sophomore.
Lockhart really improved in her junior season and created a formidable wall with Moenkedick.
So much so, Lockhart led the conference in blocks with 31.
Lockhart is one of only two seniors on this year's team. The other is outside hitter Mackenzie Schwantz.
Five juniors, Tina Scheidecker, Analea Erickson, Allie Christenson, Brooke Boedigheimer and Tina Schmitz round out the list of upperclassmen.
Perham finished regular season play last year 4-2 in the Heart O' Lakes Conference and 12-14 overall.
The Yellowjackets defeated Pelican Rapids in the opening round of Section 8 2A playoffs last year but were ousted in the second round by Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton by a score of 3-1.
Moenkedick went out in style with a game-high 25 kills, 15 digs, 3 blocks and 9 assists prompting Head Coach Dan Christenson to note that, "She will be sorely missed next fall."
Allie Christenson had a steadily improving sophomore season moving the ball around for the Perham offense and she will be counted upon this season to step into that roll.
She averaged 4.81 assists per game last year, good for fifth in the conference.
Scheidecker has the ability to affect the game from the service line.
Scheidecker and Christenson were both in the top eight in service percentage in the Heart O' Lakes Conference and will need to put up similar numbers this season for Perham to be effective.
The Yellowjackets got off to an 0-6 start last season with an early schedule loaded with teams from classes above 2A.
This season, Perham gets underway against Bemidji, Detroit Lakes and Breckenridge before a big tournament in Marshall, where plenty of upper-class schools will be in attendance.
Marshall is currently ranked No. 1 in the preseason Class 2A poll.
Perham had a tendency to play late in matches last season going the distance or to four games more often than not.
That extended playing time in crucial and intense moments should provide experience to lean on this season in lieu of a large senior class.
This year's juniors saw plenty of action as sophomores and can start building for their coming senior seasons with a burst this year centered around Lockhart's net play.