The Pecatonica Indians are returning to the volleyball court after going 18-16-3 in 2022.  Last season, the Indians capped off their season with a postseason victory, but ultimately fell to Galena in the second round of regionals.

The Indians and their head coach, Lisa Mellentine, are hopeful to see that overall record improve as they look to make another postseason run in 2023.

Mellentine, who is entering just her second season as head coach, will have to replace a solid group of graduates.  After last season, the Indians lost Paige Moore, Kelsey MaGee, Nia Anderson, and Lauren Rager.

Despite that, Pecatonica returns a talented group for the 2023 season.  The Indians are headlined by Lauren Mellentine, who was a Second Team All-Conference Libero selection in 2022.

They also return Elaina Rager, who was an Honorable Mention in the middle.  Joining them as returning letter winners are Payton Thomas, Kianna Degner, and Casey Martin.

A number of newcomers will have to step up and fill in for the 2023 Indians.  Maren Davis, Jaidon Hastings, Paige Lender, Maddux Thomas, Auberie Gilson, Olivia Girardin, and Lexi Wakenight are all expected to get a shot this season.

Things won’t be easy in a tough Northwest Upstate Illini East Conference, however, and Lisa knows it.  “This conference is the toughest around. Each team comes loaded with talent, which makes each team better when we play outside the conference.”

The Pecatonica coach shared.  Despite that, the Indians have high goals in the NUIC-East.  Lisa said the team hopes to finish in the top three in the conference.  The Indians also hope to get over the hump and capture a regional championship in 2023.

Lisa has high hopes of her own for this season, and that is because of the hard work the Lady Indians have been putting in off the court.

The chemistry is at an all-time high, thanks to the extra efforts throughout the offseason.  Lisa explained, “This team has a determination and perseverance to face what comes at them this season.  The team unity is a strength that they have been working on.  They went to the Badger Team Camp this summer.  It helped build and grow each other as individuals, and as a team.”

The extra work isn’t going unnoticed, and the Indians coach believes it will leave a lasting impact on the team.  “This is helping change the culture of the program.”  Lisa added.

The Indians will have to learn quickly and, on the fly, if they want to find success in 2023.  Lisa explained that the coaching staff wants to “Implement a faster offense and take risks, both on offense and defense.”

Pecatonica is welcoming every obstacle that comes their way, however.  On their tough schedule, Lisa explained, “We like to be challenged.

“This schedule will make us have to come play each match.  Each team we play, helps us grow as a team and pushes us to be better.”

The Indians open their 2023 season on Wednesday, Aug. 23, when they play host to Polo.  On Friday, Aug. 25, the Indians will play host to North Boone.

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