Baird, a third-year outside hitter, keeps growing along with the Falcons’ fortunes. She tops out at 6-3 and pounded 430 kills, 53 aces, and 51 blocks last season.
Baird, a junior, and classmate setter Megan Bolyard solidify a young team for coach Hawk, who wants to make sure that the Falcons are more than just a two-player team. She has spent the early days of practice on fundamentals.
Seniors Karly Fraker, right-side hitter, and Taylor Hooten, setter, add experience on a squad that has four sophomores and one freshman.
“Caitie improves the level of play of everyone around her,” Hawk said. “We know she can score for us, but we have so many other options. We want to utilize more than her. We want to spread the offense around. We have a young offense. They have a lot to learn. They are working hard and trying to take it all in. They are responding and settling in.”
Sophomore Savannah Pipes, freshman middle blocker Sally Mortensen and 5-11 freshman outside hitter Grace Ann Hartman are among the top newcomers.
“We have so much potential because we are so young,” Hawk said. “I expect our young players to keep improving with more knowledge of the game and experience. We will be fine once they become more comfortable.”
The Falcons move to the Mid-State Conference next year.