The Los Alamos volleyball team will begin its 2016 campaign at 2 p.m. Saturday with a home match against Bloomfield at Griffith Gym.
The Hilltoppers go into the season with a rebuilding state of mind, after graduating seven players from last year’s team that finished 19-4, went unbeaten in District 2-5A play and made its 10th-consecutive state tournament appearance.
Los Alamos will be under the guidance of Diana (Dee Di) Stokes, who previously coached the Hilltoppers for a combined six years. Stokes was named Los Alamos head coach in April, after two-year coach Sharleen Espinoza departed from the team.
Junior right side hitter Mackenzie Alexander and defensive specialist Samantha Miller are expected to be key returners for the Hilltoppers.
Newcomers for Los Alamos include Alize Garcia, Sophia Salazar, Ellie Hayward, Jessica Moore, Kaitlyn Bennett, Elodie Theillez and Gabby Vallejos.
The Hilltoppers will learn a lot about the shape of its team Saturday and could be used for Stokes and company to evaluate its spew of new pieces.
A fast start could be the key for Los Alamos, as it prepares for a season full of tough tasks.
Bloomfield is making its way up to Class 5A, after spending the last four seasons in Class 4A and 3A.