LEROY -- Cayman Gatt and Elizabeth Whitley are both expected to play key roles for the Pine River volleyball team this season.

For Gatt, a summer in Australia could pay off huge dividends on the court for the Bucks. Gatt, a senior, will lead the way for the team’s attack at the net.

It’s Gatt’s third varsity season. As a hitter, she’s trying to hit in various spots to be effective.

She participated on a Down Under Sports program in Australia.

“I got a thing in the mail, based on my stats and grades and other stuff,” she said.

Gatt was gone for 2 1/2 weeks in July and played with a USA team.

“There were five teams of U.S. players,” she aid.

A valuable lesson that Gatt learned from her trip is that she could always learn more about the sport.

“Seeing the different styles of volleyball they played” was a unique aspect of the trip for Gatt. “They don’t all stay the same. We played a lot of boys teams over there.”

Her Pine River team “I think is going to be strong,” Gatt said. “Beal City is always tough in the conference for us.”

The Bucks went to the state semifinals in Gatt’s sophomore season.

“We all get along and mesh very well,” Gatt said.

Whitley is in her second varsity season for the Bucks and is setting this season. She set on JVs and last year was a backup of sorts to main setter Chelsea Nelson.

“I like hitting too, but I like setting more,” she said. “I just need to be positive and work to where (her teammates) want (the ball) and where they want it best.”

Whitley has also been happy with her serving.

“I feel we can do better than last year,” she said. “We have to keep our intensity.”

Beal City in the Highland will be among the toughest opponents for the Bucks, Whitley indicated.