After graduating seven of their 10 varsity players from last year’s 18-16 squad, the Shawnee Lady Wolves will be rebuilding around youth in 2014.

Head coach Kelsey Hurt will have three seniors leading this year’s squad in Tiffany Gardner, Alyssa Fluke and Abby Davies, while junior Bailey Kasterke also returns after starting as a sophomore last season.

“Our seniors provide great leadership and are all-around strong players,” Hurt said.

Kasterke will be the team’s “quarterback” in their 5-1 formation, while Dacey Hutcheson is also expected to be a key contributor.

“[Hutcheson] is one to watch out for, for years to come,” Hurt said. “She’s a big hitter and blocker.”

Among those who graduated last season were Summer Skillern and Hannah Brooks. Both were All-State selections and both signed with schools in the NAIA’s Sooner Athletic Conference. Skillern is headed to Southwestern Assemblies of God in Waxahachie, Tex., while Brooks stayed local with Oklahoma Baptist University.

That leaves Hurt with only a few proven players when the team opens the season on Aug. 12.

“They’re a great group of girls working toward one common goal – state,” Hurt said. “They’re a hard-working and determined group with a lot of heart. We need to keep getting better with the hard work the girls put in every day. We need to be peaking at the right time.”

The Lady Wolves will open the season with home games against Del City and Enid on Aug. 12 and 14 and will finish the month with home games against El Reno and McAlester on Aug. 26 and 28.

September features trips to tournaments in Catoosa and Bartlesville as well as four home games, including the final two regular season contests against Choctaw and Newcastle on the final two days of the month.

Last year Shawnee fell to Victory Christian in the championship game of their regional playoff tournament to end their season.