Experienced Martin volleyball team takes aim at deep playoff run

08/06/2014 12:00 AM

08/04/2014 3:21 PM

With seven seniors and a number of other talented returners in the lineup, Martin figures to have another talented volleyball squad this season. Last year, the Lady Warriors made it four rounds deep in the playoffs. And they should have the stuff to repeat — or top — that feat in 2014.

But what about Arlington? Arlington, as in Martin’s top rival, defeated Martin in both meetings in 2013 on its way to the district title. Those seven Martin seniors obviously want to do better against the Lady Colts this time around.

“Right now we’re just going to focus on district and beating our rival, hopefully,” senior defensive specialist/libero Brenna Karwich said.

Added fellow senior Eden Hilbert, “We always get extra-excited to play Arlington.”

So bring on the Lady Colts already.

Well, not so fast. Martin opens the regular season Tuesday at Richland. Its first district showdown against the Lady Colts isn’t until Sept. 30.

Besides, it’s not like Martin can afford to just focus on one foe.

“It’s a good district. Lamar’s going to be really good this year,” said junior setter Claire Schwettman.

Martin won’t be looking too far ahead if coach Tracy Perez-Petersen can help it. There’s still plenty about this season’s squad she’s still trying to figure out.

“We have a lot of returners, but I’m not sure what we’re going to look like,” Perez-Petersen said. “We have a lot of good players. I just don’t know where everyone is going to play.”

Schwettman knows where she’ll be playing. She started at setter as a sophomore and this year is looking to take advantage of the team’s size, athleticism and talent in the middle.

In particular, she’ll be looking to set the table for Hilbert, a 6-foot middle blocker.

“Eden’s my No. 1 go-to,” Schwettman said.

Hilbert’s ready to take the court. “I see it going well,” Hilbert said. “I know we’re all excited to start playing volleyball.”

The season can’t arrive fast enough for Schwettman.

“I’m ready,” she said. “I’ve had my break from club volleyball. We’ve all been coming up to open gym.”

In the early going, Karwich said, Martin’s focus will be on trying to play as a team and get its flow down. But Karwich isn’t simply planning to go with the flow. As one of the seniors, she knows she’ll have to speak up sometimes to help keep her teammates focused and motivated.

“I feel like I’m going to have to be more vocal this year,” Karwich said.

Schwettman, who believes her team will excel at ball control, has faith in the leadership abilities of the seniors. “We have some really good leaders this year,” she said. “These seniors all want to go out with a bang.”

Going out with a bang, of course, would involve playing well against the Lady Colts. Judging by the results of a non-UIL spring league, Martin should be able to hold its own against its crosstown rivals.

“We always get excited to play Arlington,” Schwettman said. “It’s going to be good competition.”

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