The Hawks volleyball squad boasts both key returnees and a new coach this year

TIMES FILE PHOTO - Horizon Christian senior Lauren Eyerly (right) returns at an outside hitter spot for the Hawks this season.TUALATIN — With a new coach, and some key returning players, the Horizon Christian High School volleyball team is loaded with optimism going into the 2018 season.

"We are looking good," said first-year Horizon Christian coach Jay Lazaro, who is new to high school coaching, but has coached club volleyball the past nine years. "We have good experience, with five girls back. This is a good group."

The Hawks return five seniors from last year's team that tied for fourth place in the West Valley League standings at 7-7, while going 9-10 on the season.

"We have big-time leadership with our seniors," Lazaro said. "They've come into their own. They've worked hard and have become wonderful leaders. The freshmen and sophomores can look up to them."

Among the returning seniors is middle blocker Jaycie Forrester (5-foot-9).

"She's been a big presence in the middle," Lazaro said. "She's becoming a force."

Senior Maddie Jones (5-1) is back at libero.

"She's got good experience, between club and high school," Lazaro said.

Senior Megan Coday (5-5) returns at a defensive specialist spot. Seniors Becca Classen (5-7) and Lauren Eyerly (5-5) return as outside hitters.

Also back from last year's varsity team is sophomore middle blocker Katie Graham (6-0).

"Her height will really help us," Lazaro said. "She's also played club and high school."

TIMES FILE PHOTO - Horizon Christian senior Jaycie Forrester (11) returns at a middle blocker spot for the Hawks this season.Sophomore Alyssa Smith (5-8) returns at the opposite position.

New to the team is junior setter Jaliza Lazaro (5-3).

Freshman defensive specialist/setter Keslyn Peterson (5-7) was also expected to contribute this year, but she'll miss the season due to injury.

Still, the Hawks look to be ready to go.

"Our hitting will be our strength," Jay Lazaro said. "And this will be more of a complete team. Our question mark will be adjusting our defense."

Horizon Christian is also moving to the Lewis & Clark League this season.

"We don't know much about the new league, and that's good," Lazaro said. "We just went to be the best we can be.7Horizon Christian opened league play on Tuesday with a 25-8, 25-13, 25-7 win in a match at Riverdale.

The Hawks will be back in action on Monday, when they host Portland Adventist Academy in league match starting at 6 p.m. at Horizon Christian High School.

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