Lady Mustangs still shaping up

Posted Monday, Sep. 02, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Through the first three weeks, Grapevine volleyball coach Diane Wilson likes certain elements of her team but also knows there are others that need to keep evolving.

The Lady Mustangs went 4-4 in the recent Arlington Invitational tournament and were 11-11 before Tuesday’s home match against Richland. This squad of 13 only carries two seniors and five juniors.

“I do feel like we are ahead of last spring, but as a coach you’re never satisfied,” Wilson said. “I’m expecting a lot more from this group.”

As for the parts that are settled, there are two solid outside hitters in senior Ashley Rice and sophomore Taylor Kress. Rice (5-6) is the lone six-rotation player returning. Kress has developed some consistency to her game.

However, the setter position is still not completely ironed out. And there’s a chance it may not be for the balance of the season. That also means that Grapevine could go back and forth between a 6-2 and a 5-1. Junior Chandler Coolbaugh (5-8) has emerged with a skill set that intrigues Wilson. The other setter is Annie Peta.

“Well, for one, Chandler’s defensive has improved even more than I expected,” Wilson said. “Her control of the ball is pretty good. But we still have to work on reasons behind choices on where to go with the ball.

“She’s pretty strong in the upper body, and I like her athleticism. There’s just a lot more we have to learn.”

The libero position is in good hands with junior Nicole Taake. In fact, she might be the most athletic player on the team. Keep in mind, she is a three-sport athlete as she also plays basketball and runs track. She has become an anchor for the defense.

“She understands the game very well and puts herself in a good position,” Wilson said. “What I’ve found this year is that she’s really doing a good job of reading the serve and just reading players and tendencies.”

The District 6-5A season begins Sept. 13. As for that, Wilson believes this group can be in the playoff hunt. It’s just a matter of handling the grind of the district season.

Program finds a first

Wilson is in her 18th season running this program. For the first time, she has a freshman on the varsity roster. You would think there would be one year before now when that happened, but no.

There had been a lot of offseason talk about whether freshman right side/middle blocker Parker Fenton would be able to make the team. In fact, Wilson had been bombarded with questions.

However, she didn’t want to say yes or no until she saw Fenton go through August workouts to make sure this move would be logical. It didn’t take long for Wilson to be convinced. Fenton has been a consistent member of the starting rotation.

“She’s athletic and jumps well,” Wilson said. “I just had to see her in person against other high school players. But her ability to compete made it a pretty easy decision.”

Colleyville Heritage update

After falling to Carroll in the Arlington tournament championship game, coach Jamie Siegel’s team is 20-5 through the first three weeks of the season and played Richardson Pearce on Tuesday before playing host to McKinney Boyd on Friday.

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