The Hilton Head Island volleyball team came up one match short of the 3-A championship last season, falling to Pickens in the state final.
Despite the loss off big hitters Sierra Davis and Brantley Herrington to graduation last year, Seahawks head coach Garret Talarczyk thinks this year's team can reach that last peak.
That quest will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday, when No. 2-ranked Hilton Head Island hosts Gilbert in the first round of the SCHSL playoffs.
Talarczyk said the program has reached the point where, no matter the personnel, the expectations are always to reach the state championship.
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This year's team is built differently than last season's.
"We're shorter," Talarczyk said. "But we're quick, and our defense is a little ridiculous. We're great passers, great servers and our attitude has been unreal."
Senior outside hitter Hannah Edelman, who was named All-State along with junior libero Alexxis Andreas, is the team's undisputed leader.
"We've really built a different kind of culture with this team," she said. "There's a lot more positivity. And we're definitely younger. It's amazing to see the maturity level of such a young team."
Talarczyk and Edleman both stressed that this year's team was deeper and better-conditioned. The both felt like the Seahawks were tired at the end of last season.
And they think that could be the difference in the playoffs.
"As long as we stay healthy," Talarczyk said, "I see us getting to that state championship and winning."
For Edelman and the other girls, that would be a dream come true.
"If I could walk away with one thing from high school," Edelman said, "it would definitely be a state championship."