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Fall Sports Preview: Lady Hornets are young but talented
Madison Schultz serves the ball for East Central. Schultz is one of five sophomores on this year’s varsity team.
EAST CENTRAL -- Each season, a team’s makeup looks a little different. Some years the rosters are packed with experienced seniors, and other seasons feature a slew of up-and-coming underclassmen. The mix at East Central is interesting this year, as the Lady Hornet volleyball team looks to remain competitive in District 28-5A.
In total, the Lady Hornets return seven varsity lettermen from last season’s roster. The team has a unique look this year, though, with an even distribution of players ranging from seniors to sophomores. While Head Coach Robyn Wunderlich will look to her four seniors for their experience and leadership, much of the on-court action will by shared with the team’s four juniors and five sophomores, including sophomore standouts Brandi Campos at libero and Madison Simon at outside hitter.
In addition to overall age and experience, the Lady Hornets are also dealing with a lack of height at the net.
“Without height, you need athleticism,” Wunderlich said. “We have good athletes and good volleyball players. We just need to keep working hard and building on that.”
The Lady Hornets have been working hard and Wunderlich said that her team has done “a lot of work to get better.” Communication and service receive are their two biggest weaknesses, but that seems to be an area where every team needs improvement.
Going into the season, Wunderlich doesn’t have any major changes planned, and intends to build on what the team already has been doing. She understands that volleyball teams at all levels from high school freshman to the Olympics make the same types of mistakes, and that her team just needs to work on reducing how often those mistakes occur. Wunderlich also pointed out that many of the skills needed in volleyball aren’t necessarily learned as a child growing up on the playground or outside with friends.
“Those skills have to be learned on the court,” she said.
One change the team will have to face this season is a slight tweak to the district. Highlands leaves District 28-5A as it falls to Class 4A this year, and the Owls are replaced by the Steele Knights. In addition, Wunderlich said the Corpus Christi teams are always a battle, and that the travel can take a toll on the younger players.
But before the team starts worrying about its own district, East Central will face a tough non-district schedule. Wunderlich purposely set the schedule that way, though, and is quite happy with it.
“The reality is that on September 21 we are 0-0 -- nothing else matters,” she said. “Playing tough teams early will help us get ready for the ones that count.”
Despite the slow start East Central has had in 2012, Wunderlich is proud of the efforts her team is giving, and couldn’t be more pleased with the group of young women she has.
“This is a great group of girls,” Wunderlich said. “They like each other. They are happy for each other. They are good teammates. That all really goes a long way.”
The Lady Hornets will continue their non-district schedule until Friday, Sept. 21, when the team will travel to Corpus Christi to take on Carroll High School. East Central’s first home district game will be Tuesday, Sept. 25, as the team welcomes the Lady Dragons of Southwest.
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