Seniors will lead Lady Spartans charge
With nine seniors returning, new Centennial volleyball coach Jessica Ransom finds herself with loaded hand of sorts.
The trump cards in Ransom’s high-powered hand are senior middle blockers Laken Cash, the District 8-5A Blocker of the Year last season and first-team player Marrisa Thompson.
When asked where the strength of her team resides, Ransom, who is in her first season as a head coach, didn’t flinch.
“We have a lot of experience returning in the middle and then we have some experience at the defensive specialists,” Ransom said. “I think that will help anchor our passing game and defense and will help in getting the ball to our middles.”
Tuesday night, the Cash and Thompson’s talents were on display as the Lady Spartans secured Ransom’s first career win with a 25-12, 25-23, 26-24 season-opening sweep at Saginaw Chisholm Trail.
“It was a good first game for us,” Ransom said, “The girls came out and stayed focused the whole way through. I was proud of them.”
The Lady Spartans open play at the Tournament Friday in Carrollton.
“With so many seniors on the roster who have played together for a while which is great,” Ransom said. “Not only that but they do a great job with younger players by making them feel included and showing them the way we do things.”
Centennial is coming off a season where the Lady Spartans finished third in District 8-5A and posted an overall record of 23-21. The Lady Spartans won their second playoff match in the program history over Fort Worth Western Hills before falling in the second round of the playoffs.
After scrimmaging over the weekend, Ransom saw some areas that the coaching staff needed to work on before the season-opener.
Ransom said the real task for her and her staff was “just putting everything together.” The non-district matches and tournaments will be used to trying to figure out where everything fits.
“We have all the pieces,” Ransom said. “We just have to figure out how they all fit together.”
At setter the Lady Spartans return senior Kara Moretz and a first-year varsity player junior Maddie Skaggs.
Cash and Thompson fill the middle but Ransom said some younger players are being trained to play there in the future.
Senior Carissa Pauda, a second team all-district player, is the lone player back at outside hitters. Pauda will be backed by junior McKenna Dugan and sophomore Ady Mize. At right side hitter, senior lefty Haley Kimberling is back and will be supported by sophomore Molly McCalla.
Three seniors return at defensive specialist in Jeanette McGrath, Brooke McCrory and Tatum Stanton. They will be bolstered junior Carly Worthy and freshman Casey Hendrixson, who Ransom said brings a lot of high-level of club volleyball experience and a high volleyball IQ.
The Lady Spartans open District 9-5A play Sept. 9 at Everman