East senior setter Lauren Wiebe has the kind of voice that can be heard from one end of the gym to another.
"I can't play volleyball quiet," she said."... It's so much about momentum, and if you're out there silent, nothing is going to happen."
Wiebe and the Aces want to make some noise this season in the City League. They return four starters, including Shelby Bishop, Hanna Ewart and Andrea Navarro, from a team that went 22-15 overall, 9-7 in the league to finish tied for fourth.
"We are definitely one to look out for in the league," Wiebe said. "I don't think anyone should count us out. If (opponents) get complacent, we should be able to sneak in and take it from them."
Wiebe, a four-year starter, is experienced and skilled. But it's her willingness to be a vocal leader that thrills coach Randi Godown.
The setter is such a critical position on the court — she runs the offense, sets the pace of the game — so it's important for her to communicate effectively with the team.
"Both on the court and in the huddles, she does a great job of talking to the girls about a play that happened or what to look for or what the opposing team is doing and how we can adjust," Godown said. "On the floor, it's just her talking. I love my players to talk to each other — where the ball is going, moving, to have her help lead the rest of the girls."
But it does amuse Wiebe's teammates that, for a girl who isn't a huge talker off the court, she has a voice that carries so well.
"You can hear her from across the gym, but she's always very positive, very helpful," Bishop said.
East lost several key players, including Haleigh Lewis, a two-time All-City League selection. But Wiebe knows she can count on Bishop, Ewart and Navarro to spur the Aces' offense.
"I'm loving our offense," Wiebe said. "Especially on the outside."
That's where Navarro, a sophomore who played varsity as a freshman, and Bishop play. Bishop is only 5-foot-5, but she can jump and often takes advantage of teams overlooking her because of her size.
As for Navarro, she successfully controls her hits, adjusting to whatever set she gets, and is a threat to get a kill from the back row.
Ewart, a 6-foot middle hitter, not only is dangerous offensively, but she's a strong blocker, as well.
While East has talent, the Aces must overcome inconsistency that often plagued them in 2010. They won the Heights tournament last season and beat other quality teams during the season, but those ups were followed by too many downs.
"When you experience those lows after really high ups, it's not so fun," Bishop said. "But it made us stronger."