Lady Mustangs have new faces, high hopes

Posted Monday, Aug. 12, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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This fall’s incarnation of the Grapevine Lady Mustangs volleyball team will feature a lot of new faces, as half a dozen seniors who helped the team to its fourth-place finish in District 6-5A and bi-district playoff appearance in 2012 have graduated.

But head coach Diane Wilson, who is nearing the two-decade mark in her tenure at the helm of the program, said she thinks this year’s team may actually be better based on what she’s seen so far in workouts.

A pair of tough pre-district tournaments will test the young team, which will feature two seniors who started on last year’s squad. That’s exactly what Wilson wants before the new players begin to compete in a district that also includes possible state-championship contender and school-district rival Colleyville Heritage, along with such talented programs as Euless Trinity and L.D. Bell, which finished second and third in district last season respectively.

Grapevine will host its own tournament beginning Friday. Other teams are to include Lewisville, Richardson and Fort Worth Paschal.

2013 Lady Mustangs

Coach: Diane Wilson (18th year)

2012: Finished 4th in District 6-5A; lost in 5A bi-district to Coppell

Key returners: Seniors Ashley Rice (OH); Devon McGowan (Middle/Right Side)

Outlook: Plenty of fresh faces will grace the court for the Grapevine volleyball team this season after losing six seniors from last year’s team to graduation … Wilson returns two seniors, Rice and McGowan, so as many as three sophomores and a freshman could see significant playing time this season.

Wilson believes, despite the youth, this team hits better than last year’s edition, from what she has seen so far in preseason practice … The key to Grapevine’s season is its play in pre-district tournaments and how the team is able to develop from the experience.

“I feel like our tournaments are going to be good preparation and growth time for all the new faces on varsity this year,” Wilson said. “We’ll see teams that are going to be playoff-caliber teams that we might meet in November and it will give us an opportunity to see where we are now and where we need to be when district comes around.”

Grapevine will participate in tournaments hosted by Allen and Arlington before district play begins.

Beyond the senior leadership from Rice and McGowan, Wilson will look to sophomore outside hitter Taylor Kress to take on a leadership role at an early age, using her example on the court to guide the team. “She’s not a vocal leader, but statistically she could be one of our top players,” Wilson said. “I think the nights that she is playing well, hopefully we are going to take care of business. She’s incredibly smart with how she plays. She can hit a hard ball but she can also change pace and place her shots well.” … Grapevine opened up the season Tuesday at Louisville Hebron.

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