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Fall Sports Preview: Pirettes must rely on youth in defense of state title
Pirettes Micah Weaver (from left), Shelby Yanta, and Alyssa Kruse ready themselves for a serve during an early-season match in Poth.
POTH -- Down in Poth, people start to get pretty excited in August. Not only does it mark the beginning of the football season, it also means a return to the court for one of the winningest high school volleyball programs of the last two decades.
Unless you just moved into the area, or have been living under a rock, you are probably well aware of the Poth Pirettes’ prowess for winning, and affinity for state championships. Poth annihilated the competition in 2011, and easily swept the state championship match for a straight-sets victory.
The Pirettes were hit hard by graduation in the spring, though, and return just two players from last year -- senior Micah Weaver and junior Devon Dylla. Helping to fill out the roster this year are senior Allie Lerma; juniors Morgan Urbanczyk and Jordan Schneider; and sophomores Alyssa Kallies, Amanda Wauters, Shelby Yanta, and Alyssa Kruse.
The Pirettes may be young this season, but opponents would be foolish to count them out of anything. As members of the junior varsity team, most of these girls earned on-court experience against varsity teams during tournament play last year. And, lest we forget, they have all been learning under Head Coach Patti Zenner for years.
The Pirettes started the 2012 season with a solid win over Somerset, but then suffered a setback in their home opener against Class 5A Smithson Valley.
Poth then made a trip to Austin to compete in tournament play, and found mixed results there. The Pirettes came up with victories over Austin Akins, Austin McCallum, San Antonio Marshall, Round Rock Stony Point, and Liberty Hill, but fell to the teams from Round Rock Cedar Ridge, Austin SFA, Round Rock McNeil, and Austin Anderson -- a collection of 5A schools.
So how are the Pirettes going to fare this year? Probably pretty well. Despite losing eight of 10 players from the roster, Poth still started the year as the defending state champs and the No. 1-ranked team in the state. That fact speaks volumes of Zenner and of the program she has built in Poth.
As a reporter, it is pointless to ask questions like how the Pirettes will overcome a perceived “lack of experience,” or what goals the team has for this year. The answer is always the same. The Pirettes are going to work as hard or harder than any other team in the state, and their goal is always to win another state championship.
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