CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — St. Thomas More volleyball is going to look a lot different in 2022.

“We have a lot of moving pieces this season and it’s changed every single day,” junior setter Julia Johnson said.

“We’re definitely a new team now,” senior libero Claire Kennedy said. “But same goals, same dynamic and overall same practice type, same game plan and hoping to be at Redbird again.”

Coming off a 1A State championship, the Sabers are losing six seniors. The varsity team has four returners with their eyes set on returning to Normal for another title game. And one of the most important new pieces is head coach Evan Hook.

“Everybody uses the word culture, but the culture coming in here is awesome,” Hook said. “I mean I don’t even need to tell them to start practice. It’s just great leadership here.”

“Awesome. We love Evan,” Johnson said. “He’s a great coach. He’s bringing a lot of different tools because he was a defense player in college. He was a libero. That’s a big thing we needed to fill in this year and he’s been working really hard with us on defense, on offense to just really get us in a good place to just grind this season.”

Both Mallory and Shannon Monahan return, they led the team in kills with over three per set. They’ll have Johnson setting them up.

“What we’re trying to do right now is just work with what we have, go in, play hard, and just show who we are,” Johnson said. “We’re Saber volleyball and that’s what we want to be.”

“We’ve kept a lot of it, the majority of it the same,” Hook said. “Our motto here is if it ain’t broke why fix it.”

The Sabers have already shown that winning mentality, taking first place in their summer league against a majority of teams in their conference. They play Monday at home to kick off their season.