Fossil Ridge players pushing for district success

Posted Monday, Sep. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Success isn’t always measured in wins, but for Fossil Ridge volleyball, that unit of measure would be just fine.

Fossil Ridge was winless in district play going into this week’s schedule. They were also winless throughout the full district slate last year.

The year prior to that, the Lady Panthers notched just one district win.

First year Lady Panthers coach Jennifer Chandler said that with the improvement and quality of girls she’s working with, she expects to see it pay it off.

“These are great kids, and even though the progress isn’t translating into wins just yet, there’s so many things they’re doing so much better,” Chandler said. “They are understanding what to do and how to execute. They understand the scouting report. And, they’re playing in positions they haven’t in the past. They’re battling.”

Chandler was previously at Mansfield Legacy before arriving at Fossil Ridge this season.

Two players among those being asked to play in new positions or take on new roles are sophomore setter Tori Woogk and senior middle blocker Kerrie Bourne.

Bourne is regarded by Chandler as the most improved player on the team.

“She’s a workhorse,” Chandler said of Bourne. “She comes in every day and works and doesn’t complain or make excuses.”

“I feel that I’ve made a lot of progress because I haven’t played this position before,” Bourne said. “The coaches have really helped me. Last year I was playing the right side and not moving as much.”

Bourne said the middle blocker role was better suited to her 6-foot height.

“It has its own technique,” Bourne said, noting she had played the position at the very beginning of her freshman year.

Improvements can be attributed to the players, but Bourne said although they’ve been adjusting to a new coach, it hasn’t been a hard transition.

“They have really come in and changed the program. It’s a good kind of different,” she said.

Any success this season will build momentum for the program again, said Bourne.

“We’ve seen the progress,” Bourne said. “In previous years when we got down, we’d stay down. This year we don’t stay down, we battle.”

Both Bourne and Woogk said there’s a whole new attitude, with the coaches emphasizing setting goals in district. There’s even an emphasis on making the playoffs.

“Even in fourth period, I daydream of the playoffs,” Woogk said.

“When we all started, we didn’t know what to expect,” Woogk said. “But now it’s so much better with a new system. The new coaches don’t let us slide.”

“Tori is unique,” Chandler said of the 5-10 sophomore. “She sits in the front court and the back court. She’s handling the offense in front as a hitter and controlling as a setter. She’s definitely very valuable for the team. We’re asking a lot from her. She comes in daily to work and consistently performs every night.”

The sophomore said she’s learned a lot from the upperclassmen, though.

“I’ve been playing with older girls and I see how they handle things,” Woogk said. “Now, I find the other girls on the court will look to me for help and lean on me.”

The positive change will continue to happen, Woogk said.

“Not a lot of change may happen in just one season,” she said. “We are a young team, but it’s going to click eventually.”

“I’m really proud of these girls because we’re asking a lot of them in changing their habits,” Chandler said. “We’re almost there. I feel like they’re there on the verge of that (district) win.”

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