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By Michael Fagans / The Bakersfield Californian
BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
New coach, new system, new star players, no problems.
That's the story of the volleyball season thus far for Frontier High, which improved to 16-1 with a 25-22, 25-20, 25-20 sweep of Clovis East on Tuesday night.
The victory follows a weekend in which Frontier won the San Luis Obispo tournament with eight wins over Southern Section teams.
"We had a really good weekend," Titans coach Amy Parker said. "We didn't know what to expect this year, but we've done good things.
"Teams lose seniors every year, but we lost our two starting middle blockers, an outside hitter (Kelsey Fien) who's at Nebraska and a libero (Breanna Sierra) who has a torn ACL. So we knew we had holes to fill, and we've really rallied."
Leading the charge has been senior Krista Rymer, who had 20 kills and three aces Tuesday after being named tournament MVP over the weekend.
Senior setter Katie Cornford and junior libero Sarah Harvey also made the all-tournament team over the weekend; Cornford had 16 assists Tuesday and Harvey led the team with 16 digs.
"We just really play as a team this year," Cornford said. "We realize we all have individual needs, but the team needs come first."
Also give credit to Parker, who assisted Tom Clarke at Bakersfield High for much of the last decade and who has brought a cerebral approach to the Titans this year.
"I want them to play the game on both sides," Parker said. "I want them to know that the other team always sets (the ball to) this person and hardly sets this person. You can gain an advantage that way."
Rymer said Parker's approach contrasts with that of former coach Steve Bentley, who left after leading the program through its first six seasons.
"We're definitely more focused on the mental aspect, where with (Bentley) it was more emotional," Rymer said. "Both are good, but this is really working for us this season."
Bentley led the Titans to the Cnetral Section Division II title in 2009 -- Rymer and Cornford's freshman season. The next season, Frontier moved into Division I, and the next year, the Southwest Yosemite League merged with Liberty and Bakersfield.
Now, three years later, these Titans want more.
"We've established a name for ourselves," Cornford said. "We're definitely a contender now."
We'll get a hint as to whether Frontier is ready to join the Centennials and Libertys of the world when SWYL play begins Oct. 2.
During that first week, the Titans will play host to both the Golden Hawks and Patriots.
"It's all about getting in the gym and working hard in practice," Parker said. "You can't turn it on and off like a faucet. You have to work hard at all times.
"It's anybody's game in that league. It's gonna be a battle every night."