The Mitchell Christian volleyball team views this season as an opportunity to improve on last year, and it has the returning firepower to do so.

The Golden Eagles return six starters from their 5-20 squad, which defeated Oldham-Ramona/Rutland in the first round of the Region 4B tournament. Mitchell Christian lost to Chester Area in the second round, though.

The Golden Eagles have a chance to go into the region tournament on a high note this season, thanks to a streak of home games to end the season. Four of their final five contests are at home.

“It’s going to be nice -- it’s my senior year -- we don’t have to travel a lot,” Mitchell Christian senior Anna Cooper said. “It’s going to be a lot of home games, and I’m happy about that.”

Mitchell Christian’s potential improvement will stem from a more effective offensive attack. It struggled with timing and setting the ball last season, though coach Cara Van Zee has put an emphasis on offense this offseason.

Cooper feels the improvement started last year, and with the work the Golden Eagles put in over the summer, will continue in 2019.

“Working on our attack, our attack power,” Van Zee said. “We’re focusing a lot on our offense and serves. Working on team communication and teamwork.”

Cooper is one of six returning members. She’s joined by Erica Thompson, Kaitlyn Tegethoff, Whisper Eben, Sophie Eben and Keely O’Neill.

That experience started paying off at the first practice.

“It’s really nice having a lot of returning players, so when it comes to practice we already know what to do,” Cooper said. “All we have to do is explain it to the younger kids and help them, but it’s not a lot of repeat.”

They’ve stepped up as leaders, too, which was needed considering Mitchell Christian doesn’t have any assistant coaches.

“It’s great, they really step up and do that,” Van Zee said. “It’s been difficult not having an assistant coach, so they really had to step up.”