SIDNEY, NE. — The Red Raiders are taking this volleyball season very seriously with a week of conditioning training and two practices a day.

“We were at the pool on Monday and we’re on the track Tuesday, Wednesday, back to the pool Thursday and then hit the sand courts Friday,” Head Volleyball Coach Julie Smith said.

When the week of conditioning is over, the girls will practice twice a day, once at 7:30 a.m. and again at 3:30 p.m.

Volleyball Seniors Reese Riddle and Gabrielle Fortner said the double practices are hard but worth it and doing it as a team makes it easier because they can cheer each other on.

“The first week is always a little rough,” Fortner said. “I think you have to put yourself out there and it’s going to hurt but in the long run it benefits you.”

Fortner is a hitter and has been playing since 7th grade and Riddle is a setter who has been playing since 4th grade. 

“My favorite part about volleyball is definitely the team sport,” Fortner said. “The girls become more of a family than just teammates.”

Riddle said they are looking forward to this year a lot.

“Volleyball is such a team sport,” Riddle said. “I play with my best friends, and I just like to be around them and enjoy the game.”

Fortner and Riddle are two of three seniors on the team this year. Smith said the team has 19 freshmen. 

“This class of seniors is phenomenal, they’ve already established some guidelines about how they want the program to look and expectations they have of the team,” Smith said. “They are ready to roll and I’m excited to see what they can do.”

Smith said she is expecting to have a good season.

The girls only have five home games this season and the first home game is Thursday, August 25th against the Sterling Tigers.

“We don’t have a lot of home games this year so we would love to have the support if you could come out to our five home games and support us,” Fortner said.