Even with five seniors graduating from last year’s squad, Carthage’s volleyball team still returns four full-time starters and a few others who played at the varsity level.

And even with that much returning experience, the Tigers will still be a relatively young team in 2014.

“We’ve got four sophomores right now in the starting lineup,” head coach Cheryl Sharples said this week. “Kiley Tiller, she’s going to play right side and is doing a really nice job there. Savannah Downing has strengthened our defense quite a bit. Marley Hensley is a setter, which lets Madi Kaempfe swing which she hasn’t done in a couple years, and we’ve got Madi Burt on the outside.”

Kaempfe is one of just two seniors, along with Abbi Thomas. They’ve done a nice job as seniors, Sharples said, and have stepped up into leadership roles, but the junior class has also picked it up, she said.

There are five juniors on the roster: Maya Williams, Lydiah Shanks, Rayna Jefferies, Taylor Stanley and Bailey Larson. Otherwise it’s a sophomore-dominated team, with 11 total on the roster, and Lynae Collier, Downing, Hensley, Burt, Tiller and Brooke Guidie on the varsity roster.

“Things have gone well,” Sharples said. “We’ve had a good preseason and really progressed. We’ve taken some young kids and thrown them into the varsity level so we could see them progress. We got to have our jamboree the other night and kind of started off a little slowly but we ended really strong and looked a lot more like the team I feel we could be.”

The jamboree mainly served for the coaching staff to see if players fit into the positions they were playing in, as well as to gauge where the team is at as a whole and where it needs to go.

“We’re young and I just see us getting better as the year goes along,” Sharples said. “Getting those younger kids to mature; when that happens I think we could be a really exciting team to watch.”

Carthage opens its schedule at home on Monday against Monett. The action begins at 5 p.m.