Smoky Mountain’s volleyball team will open its season at home Monday against Murphy.

The JVs will play at 5 p.m. followed by the varsity.

“I feel like we’ve been taking really good steps throughout the summer,” Coach Megan Dezarn said. “I feel pretty comfortable and confident about our returners and their leadership.”

The Lady Mustangs took part in a multi-team scrimmage Saturday at West Henderson.

“I thought we had a lot of positive energy and attitudes at the scrimmage,” she said. “We’ve been practicing specific things that the girls were trying and doing well Saturday. We are transitioning into the game situation. I was also pleased with the fact that I moved quite a few of the girls around to different positions, and everyone seemed consistent in whatever position I put them in. It’s always good to have versatility in your lineup.”

Dezarn said she was pleased with the team’s serving Saturday.

“We spot served the entire time,” she said. “That’s something I want to get in the habit of doing.”

She added, “Some of our hitters did a really good job. We’ve been trying to work on quicker sets and taking advantage of free balls.”

Returnees from last year’s 13-13 team are: senior hitter Faith Shuler; senior defensive specialists Caroline Cowan and Lindsey Stack; junior hitters Natalie Parris, Melanie Hoyle and Charlee Haney; and junior setter Ella Gamble.

Coming up from the JVs are: junior defensive specialist Ella Jamison; junior hitter Hannah Huddleston; sophomore defensive specialist Kennedy Stewman; and sophomore hitter/setter Alexa Anderson.

They are joined by freshman setter Carley Raleigh.

As for the Mountain Six Conference, Dezarn said, “It’s kind of the same it has been the past two years. It’s going to be anybody’s to win. It will depend on who can stay healthy and be the most consistent.”

The coach said Franklin and Brevard have a lot of returnees. She said Hendersonville and East Henderson should be competitive, with Pisgah being improved.

“The girls are excited to get out there,” Dezarn said. “I think we’ve got a good group that’s going to push themselves and push each other. I’m excited for the first week of games.”

The schedule is as follows:

Aug. 19 – Murphy; 20 – at Hayesville; 22 – Robbinsville; 26 – Swain; 28 – at Erwin.

Sept. 3 – Owen; 5 – at Highlands; 9 – Erwin; 10 – at Pisgah; 12 – Hendersonville; 16 – at Robbinsville; 17 – at Brevard; 19 – at East Henderson; 24 – Franklin; 25 – at Rabun Gap, Georgia; 26 – Pisgah; 30 – at Murphy.

Oct. 1 – Hendersonville at East Henderson; 3 – Brevard; 7 – at Owen; 8 – East Henderson; 10 – at Franklin.