LAND O'LAKES — Those wondering if last year's state semifinal appearance for Sunlake High's volleyball team turns into a one-off, star-fueled journey might want to check with the Seahawks on that."We're out to redeem ourselves. That's our goal," senior Gianna Basulto said.Though the Seahawks' first trip to the postseason produced a regional championship, Basulto and teammates have no use for how it ended. Sunlake wasn't at its best — perhaps nerves were a factor — and it lost to Merritt Island in straight sets.Sunlake thinks it can wipe away those sore memories despite the loss of Sarah Sprague, not just the North Suncoast Player of the Year for her talent but also the unquestioned vocal leader.But Sprague, now at Division III Berry College (Ga.), and setter Shaira Sanabria were the only seniors — and there's a load of talent coming back.Kelsey Riquelme, who came into her own as a sophomore, was last year's No. 2 hitter (three kills per set to Sprague's 4.4) and far and away the Seahawks' top blocker. She will be leaned on heavily, and Basulto steps into the No. 2 role. But they are far from alone."It's not like we're starting from scratch. More like picking up where we left off," coach Deann Newton said.That includes the emphasis on offseason conditioning that Newton instilled in the program upon taking over in 2013. Before that, Sunlake had totaled just 15 wins through six seasons. The Seahawks were 16-10 in Newton's debut, then earned the first playoff trip, a 25-6 season that peaked with a dramatic five-set regional final victory at Belleview."Our coach is great. She's given us all the tools to succeed. It's up to us now," Riquelme said.Newton's efforts at team bonding have been a hit. A highlight was last week when she organized a scavenger hunt at Citrus Park Mall. In groups of three, the charge was to find an item in the mall and take a selfie for proof.Apparently the Seahawks became the talk of the mall. And though Riquelme said they had a blast, the only letdown was when she, Nelly Diaz and Emily Schoonover let a big lead slip away."We had to take a picture with a cute guy, and I figured no problem," Riquelme said. "Nelly is very talkative, and very loud, and she'll find somebody and take care of everything. But there were no cute guys. Just old people."Fortunately there was no need to hunt for an ultra-skilled freshman, as the Seahawks already have one in Kamea Nash. Newton said Nash will make a "huge impact" with her "dynamic" play."She just turned 14 a couple of days ago … and she's amazing," Basulto said.There's also Diaz, the libero and standout defender, returning setter Colby Coats, 5-11 senior Hannah Presson and Cat Parbel, who Newton said "completely took the challenge" of transitioning from right-side hitter to the middle.Sunlake's first district title was not easily won, and a jump to Class 6A means it will be more difficult. The Seahawks are in a four-team district with perennial playoff team Mitchell, Springstead and Land O'Lakes.Newton scheduled an early look at Mitchell, facing the Mustangs today at 6 p.m. as part of the eight-team Seahawk Preseason Classic. Sunlake also challenged Hillsborough County Class 7A powers Durant and Wharton, with Land O'Lakes, Academy at the Lakes, Seffner Christian and Gaither in the other pool.In addition to an increased level of competition, a greater effort from opposing teams will likely come. Newton said that for every squad the Seahawks might be a little intimidating toward, there will be a "higher-caliber" opponent really ramping up its effort to knock them off."Going to states and all that, yeah, you can sense it. People are like, 'Sunlake has really stepped it up,' " Basulto said.The Seahawks want to impress them even more this season, going so far as to look at the full Class 6A, Region 2 block of teams to gauge their odds of being its ultimate survivor."We've had a couple of talks about it already. It's there for us. It's hard to get much better than what we did last year, but that's our goal," said Riquelme, before adding:"And everyone's very aware of our goal."