The 2012 Lady Mavericks volleyball team will try to surpass last season’s success at the SPIAA sub-state tournament in Meade Saturday.
“I think [the coaching staff and fans] had high expectations for the girls this season,” said Head Coach Randy Fulton. “I think the girls have gotten better. They’ve matured; many of them have another year of varsity volleyball under their belt. Their expectations have been the same as my expectations. It’s been pretty exciting.”
The Lady Mavs finished their 2012 regular season with an (32-4) overall record and an (8-2) league record. The finished their 2011 campaign with a (27-12) overall record, missing an opportunity to go to the state tournament in a tough sub-state loss to Skyline.
“I think that we’ve met our expectations,” said Fulton. “Every year we want to get to the state tournament. I think we’re headed in that direction this year.”
Coming into the season after an undefeated summer playing in the Southwestern Heights Summer League, the Lady Mavs may be poised for a trip to state finals.
But the season has come with plenty of ups and downs including a handful of hard losses in rubber matches against previously beaten opponents including Bucklin and Spearville.
“I think those losses helped us more than they hurt us,” said Fulton. “It gives me something to work with in practice. It also gives the girls some ideas on what they need to do to improve. We don’t want to make those mistakes when we get to sub-state.”
Starting setter #22 Riann Heft’s foot injury kept her from the floor against a tough Holcomb team that brought the team its first loss of the season on Sept. 11.
“Holcomb is a good team,” said Fulton, “but it would have been nice to see what we could have done with Riann in the game.”
Fulton also acknowledged that a core group of senior starters including #33 Angela Liggett, #03 Chelsea Oberle, #42 Halie Headrick and #06 Erica Bertram were benefiting from years of playing on the same teams.
“Those girls have been together since junior varsity. When they make it to the varsity level and go through the trials and tribulations of making the varsity squad there is always that close-knit feeling when they get to their senior year.”
The Mavericks enter the sub-state tournament ranked number 4 in the 2A division by the Kansas Volleyball Association, behind Washington County (27-2), Burlingame (23-2) and Ell-Saline (22-3).
They will be the number one seed in Saturday’s winner-takes-all bracket.
“I tell the girls that when we get to sub-state we have to start over again,” added Fulton. “I think if we can play our game and do what we do best, we’ll make it to state this year.”
The Lady Mavericks won their final two matches of the season on Tuesday night in Greensburg, beating So.Central High School (25-8, 25-15) and Spearville (25-23, 12-25, 25-13).