By Arwyn Rice

Pilot staff writer

It takes good balance and a depth of talent to play volleyball.

Balance and depth are good descriptions for the 2008 Bruins volleyball team.

The Brookings-Harbor High School Bruins return four seniors and two juniors from last year's championship team.

andquot;I only lost two players from last year,andquot; said Bruins' volleyball coach Lori Cooper. andquot;But one of those was the Far West League Player of the Year.andquot;

The team's talent isn't limited to the returning starters. As the team stands today, the Bruins can have eight to 10 equally talented players on the floor at any time.

andquot;They're well rounded and fairly equally talented,andquot; Cooper said. andquot;They push each other to be better.andquot;

It can be better to have a team of equally talented players than a couple of stars. When teams have a super standout player they don't get pushed into doing better, she said.

However, despite the depth, this year the volleyball team lacks numbers.

andquot;I've been here 11 seasons; we will not have a JV2 for the first time,andquot; Cooper said.

Twenty-one girls are out for volleyball this year. Six players from last year did not return due to other activities. The lack of numbers is made up by having excellent depth of talent.

While the team lacks a superstar, this year's seniors provide experience. The 2008 Bruins volleyball seniors are Dani Olsen, Brianne Manley, Taylor Keys and Molly Vance.

Dani Olson, 17, sees a lot of talent in the younger players and sees the team at the top of the conference this year, with a chance in the state playoffs.

Olsen says that she wants to play all around this year and develop a more consistent jump serve.

Breanne Manley, 17, is challenging the team to practice as well as they can every day. The second-year starter hopes to make first-team Libero (a defensive position) and is working on her blocking skills.

Manley is applying to the University of Oregon but also has an interest in playing volleyball for a smaller school - Western Oregon or Lane Community College.

Taylor Keys, 17, is also a second year starter. Keys says she is learning the middle, but the real challenge is leadership.

andquot;I'm learning to be a leader,andquot; Keys said. As a senior I need to be a leader.andquot;

Keys has taken on the responsibility for helping keep the team excited and motivated when things get rough.

Molly Vance, 17, began playing on varsity midway through her sophomore year. Like Keys, Vance says that the most important thing for the team is to keep the players talking on the court, to keep them andquot;upandquot; when something goes wrong.

The Bruins will play in a jamboree this week against North Bend, Bandon and Myrtle Point. The public is invited to watch the action at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 28.

Bruins volleyball starts fast with a home game against Gold Beach at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 2, the first day of school.