After weeks of practice, the Eureka High School girls’  volleyball team had a dress rehearsal last weekend in Tonopah, but on Saturday in Virginia City things will get real.

The Lady Vandals open up their 2013 campaign on the road against a tough muckers team that not only won the regional playoffs last season and advanced to the state tournament, but in the process knocked out the fourth seed Lady Vandals. Virginia City went on to fall to Pahranagat Valley in the quarterfinals of state.

That was last season though, and Eureka is looking forward to getting a fresh start. The team fared well in the four-team scrimmage tournament that featured the veteran squads of Round Mountain, Mineral County and Tonopah according to Lady Vandals coach Sherri Wilker, and she thinks they are ready for the real thing.

“I thought the scrimmages went really well,” said Wilker. “The girls are becoming more versatile overall and looked really strong out there. They are ready to get started.”

The Lady Vandals will return much of the squad that reached the playoffs in 2012, though they are still young. While Wilker only lost two seniors to graduation, she will only have three on the floor this year with the rest being mostly juniors.

She thinks having a team that has another year of experience under its belt will be a benefit to them in the long haul.

“Not too much has changed from last year,” she said. “We still have our setter and middle hitters, and are working on developing an outside hitter. I think we are in great shape.”

While not much has changed on the floor for Eureka, things have changed a bit on the sidelines.

Wilker, who coached the school’s junior varsity team the last four seasons, will be returning as the varsity coach for the first time in more than 15 years. Wilker last coached varsity at Eureka in 1996 before moving to Silver Springs, where she coached at all different levels, including middle school.

No matter the level she has been at, her love for the game has never changed, and she is now looking forward to the challenge that she and her team have ahead.

“From a coaching standpoint, I’m enjoying getting to work with the girls on both the offensive side and defensive side,”  Wilker said, “Sometimes in middle school and even junior varsity we are still teaching the basic fundamentals of the game, so it’s been a lot of fun.”

The Lady Vandals meet the Muckers at 10 a.m. on Saturday in Virginia City.