With coach Tori Fedak keeping only seven players on the Watkins Memorial High School girls volleyball team's roster, depth is an obvious concern.

With coach Tori Fedak keeping only seven players on the Watkins Memorial High School girls volleyball team's roster, depth is an obvious concern.

The fitness of those athletes, however, is not.

"We knew our numbers were down so we had two-a-day conditioning," Fedak said. "The girls worked really hard in July to make sure they came (into preseason practice) in shape."

The Warriors, who finished 7-15 overall a year ago and were fifth at 3-7 in the OCC-Capital Division won by Olentangy Liberty and Dublin Scioto at 9-1 each, opened last Saturday against Lancaster and Lakewood.

The Warriors, who open play in the OCC-Capital on Tuesday at Big Walnut before facing New Albany at home on Thursday, return three letterwinners, including junior outside hitter Amberley Masa. She was a defensive specialist a year ago and also saw time as backup setter in the 5-1 offense, which was run then by graduate Sara Swick.

"She's had to move, and that's tough. Last year (Masa) had a role and now it's changed," said Fedak, whose team will play Saturday at home against Johnstown and Heath, the defending MSL-Ohio champion and another Division III regional participant in 2007. "She's a class kid. You can put her in a lot of situations and she'll succeed. She's playing on the outside because she's a good leaper, can find holes in the defense and is a strong hitter."

Juniors Amber Hartley and Lenae Walters are back and also have changed positions, with both moving into the middle to help offset the graduation of Christina Myers and Lindsay Litwiller. Myers is playing basketball at Denison. Hartley and Walters played right-side hitter last season, when the Warriors lost their opening match in the Division I district tournament to eighth-seeded Lancaster 25-8, 27-25, 25-17.

Junior Kaleigh Johns returns to the school district from Newark Catholic and is the new setter. The others players are senior Kahla Wiley (defensive specialist) and sophomores Mallory Warrington (outside hitter) and Kayla Zellers (defensive specialist).

The OCC-Capital now also includes Mount Vernon, Delaware and Olentangy Orange. Franklin Heights remains and so does New Albany.

Big Walnut advanced to its eighth consecutive Division II district final a year ago.

"It's always nice having some new schools on the schedule," Fedak said. "Most of them, they're more comparable to us (enrollment-wise) so maybe we'll be on the upswing."

Fedak has a new assistant in Holly Schetszle, a 2001 graduate who later played at Tennessee and Ohio University. She played on the Betty Cameron-coached 1998 team at Watkins Memorial which advanced to state. She also played under current Ohio State women's coach Geoff Carlston at Ohio University.

"We should be getting more girls out for volleyball," said Fedak, who has 22 players overall, including seven on the freshman team and eight on junior varsity. "Holly, she's from the days when volleyball was a big sport here. She's part of that tradition."