"We are coming off a winning season, so we want to build off that. We want for them to get going and see what's it's like playing early."
The Vaqueros, who went 12-10 and 8-4 in the Western State Conference's Southern Division for third place behind Bakersfield and College of the Canyons last season, will battle Mount San Antonio College at 3 p.m. Friday, followed by Riverside Community College at 5.
The Vaqueros are expected to field a 14-member squad, up from 11 last season, which will provide some much-needed depth. Five are sophomores and four played for the Vaqueros last season.
The returners are outside hitters Jessica Alvarez and Brittany Frederick, who graduated from Bellarmine-Jefferson High and Burroughs, respectively, setter Roxanne Domines and libero Ana Flores.
"I think the leadership will be real strong," said Ybarra, whose team will begin conference action at 7 p.m. Oct. 5 against visiting Bakersfield. "Roxy and Jessica will share the leadership role.
"It's a good thing that we have sophomores and freshmen who have leadership abilities. If we have a tough time, then others can step up."
Joining Alvarez and Frederick at outside hitter will be sophomore Cindyline Sevilla, and possibly freshmen Yessenia Ortega, Sara Kert and Molly Hovendick.
The middle blockers will consist of Kert and freshman Brittany Riddle. Those vying for time at opposite hitter include freshmen Valerie Garcia and Jullie Apelacio. The liberos are Flores and freshmen Inna Varsobia and Racquel Valenzuela, a Holy Family graduate.
The setters will consist of Domines and freshman Karen Loera.
Ybarra, a former volleyball player at Boise State University, said the Vaqueros' main strength will be defense.
"It will be [our strength] because we are bigger with the potential to block better than in the past," said Ybarra, whose squad will conclude the regular season Nov. 16 with a division match against visiting Citrus College. "If it's there, our defense can take over because we have some great attackers who are smart and aren't afraid to mix it.
"The returners understand what my expectations are and what the team expectations are. We have more flexibility and I can substitute more. In the past, we have been at the bottom of the conference. Then we went from fourth [in 2008] to third last year. As long as we do the best we can, that will be the key."