Randy Robbins, Pilot staff writer

Head Coach Tracy Wallace has been at the helm of the Gold Beach High School (GBHS) Lady Panthers Volleyball program for seven years and seems confident about the upcoming season.

Yet Wallace knows better than anybody that it will take more than warm fuzzy feelings to win in the OSAA 2A Sunset League.

Facing teams like the Reedsport Braves - undefeated in league and 22-7 overall - will give the Panthers quite a challenge.

"They will be very good again this year," Wallace said.

And while she acknowledges that the Myrtle Point Bobcats will also be good she things this could be the Year of the Panther because they are returning six seniors to the team.

"They can get it done," Wallace said of her seniors.

Key to the Lady Panthers success will be a group of returning players: Justice Smith, defensive specialist and outside hitter; Meriah Carpenter, a middle hitter; Eliza Lander, outside hitter; Mariah Swift, defensive specialist; Emily Martin, center; and Josie Piper, utility player.

Assisting with the Panthers volleyball program will be Wallace's daughter Briana - a GBHS alumni and a recent graduate of Western Oregon University - who takes over as junior varsity coach.

"I'm excited to be coaching alongside Briana," Wallace said.

Wallace thinks the Lady Pantherswill surprise some people this year after going 2-6 in league last season.

"I'm proud of these girls," she said. "They have worked hard to elevate their game. We have a great team dynamic. Everyone works hard and has a great attitude."

The Lady Panthers open up with preseason play against Del Norte High School on Sept. 5. League play begins Sept. 12 against Bandon.