As the girls of the hardwood strap on their knee pads for what should be another great year of volleyball in southern Denton County, the sport is continuing to grow in popularity and talent in the region.
Three local schools advanced to the post-season in 2011, and numerous players were selected to All-District, All-Region and All-State teams for their contributions to the sport.
Things should not be much different in 2012 for local schools, and we could see a season in which every southern Denton County team earns a post-season berth.
The Argyle volleyball team had a phenomenally successful campaign in 2011, cruising to a district championship and finishing up the season with a 36-4 overall record.
Coach Clark Oberle said he is expecting big things from his team again this year, and said he has been impressed with what he has seen from both his veterans and newcomers alike to this point.
“We will have a pretty strong team,” Oberle said. “Several strong returners and talented newcomers to replace our four graduates.”
Oberle said he expects big seasons from a couple of players including the following:
Senior Setter Blair O'Brien, two time TGCA All State and district MVP Sophomore middle blocker Katy Keenan, Newcomer of the Year.
The Argyle coach said he anticipates Celina will be one of the teams to beat in district this year, and said in order to have another good run in the playoffs, his team will need to “stay healthy and maintain good team chemistry.”
Argyle went three rounds in the playoffs in 2011, and returns four starters from last year's team.
For Liberty Christian, the Lady Warriors finished with a 5-9 district mark in 2011 and fifth place finish in district competition, but coach Kimberley Weaver said she believes things are looking up for Liberty in 2012.
“We are looking forward to a great 2012 season,” Weaver said. “Despite graduating seven seniors, we are expecting to fill our varsity roster with several new, but experienced, athletes. We are looking forward to competing for a district title this fall.”
Weaver said that some of her key returning players include a pair of sophomore standouts.
“Paige Jeary and Ali Eager are sure to have great seasons,” Weaver said. “Both contributed to our varsity team as freshman, and will continue to strengthen our program.”
Weaver said that all of Liberty's district opponents look tough this coming season, but said that Trinity Christian in particular should have a great program, and said to clinch a post-season berth and hopefully have a good run in the playoffs, it will take two things.
“We will need to compete at a very high level every time we step on the court,” Weaver said. “If we are able to hit our targets in most of our statistical priority categories, we will be in a great position for the playoffs.”
Over at Marcus High School, the Lady Marauders wrapped up last season with a 10-4 district mark and advanced five rounds in the post-season before losing to Coppell.
Marcus finished second in a tough 8-5A volleyball district in 2011, and had the Co-Offensive Player of the Year in the district in Regan McGuire, who will be returning for Marcus this year.
With a good supporting cast coming back as well, the Lady Marauders should once again be a formidable opponent in district competition.
Cross Town Rival Flower Mound finished third in district in 2011 with a 9-5 district record.
The Lady Jags advanced to the first round of the post-season and lost to eventual state champion Coppell in bi-district.
With the return of Brianna Allmon, Jordan Anderson and last year's Newcomer of the Year Elizabeth Boyd, the Lady Jaguars could leapfrog Marcus in the final district standings and rival for a district championship.
Denton Guyer is a team that just missed out on the playoffs in 2011, finishing fifth in district behind Keller.
The Lady Wildcats ended the season with an 18-13 overall record in 2011 and could be on the cusp of a breakout year in 2012.