The Lincoln County High School volleyball team is experienced and looking forward to taking on division rivals.

The Lynx return seven players, including six seniors, from a 2014 team that went 13-3 in league play and 19-11 overall. As he enters his 22nd year coaching, Ken Thornock is pleased with the focus and work ethic of his group. Last year’s team lost a tight Division III Southern League semifinal match to The Meadows, which ended their season. This year, the Lynx appear ready to take the next step.

“Over the last 10 years, I don’t think I’ve had a team that works harder in practice than this team so far,” Thornock said. “And I hope that will transfer into game situations.”

The team will be led by senior setter and All-Southern League First-Team selection Chesnee Harding as well as senior opposite hitter Easton Tingey, who was a Second Team selection last year. Other returning seniors are middle blockers Hannah Hafen and Bridon Lewis, libero Alisha Rowe and outside hitter Josie Burgess. Junior outside hitter Cameron Lloyd is also returning.

New to varsity this year are junior Kia Phillips and sophomores Brooklyn Hafen and Kailey Kelley.

Thornock expects to once again battle White Pine for the top seed in their division. White Pine was runner-up to Yerington for the Division III state title.

“[The Bobcats] pretty much return the same team they had last year, so the two of us should battle again in the southern league,” he said.

Thornock also expects tough competition from The Meadows and Lake Mead. An unknown is Calvary Chapel, who lost most of its players from last year. “I’m sure they’re still going to be tough, because they run a really good program,” he said. “But if we play the way we are able to, we should be in the top two of the southern league.”

Everyone has their eye on powerhouse Yerington up north. The team knocked off White Pine 3-0 in the state finals last year for its second straight championship and fourth in five years.

Lincoln County opens the preseason this weekend at the White Pine Invitational in Ely.

If what the coach has seen so far is any indication, it promises to be an exciting season.

“It’s a good group,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed coaching them thus far.”