Lady Lions take aim at return to the playoffs

08/11/2014 3:23 PM

08/11/2014 3:24 PM

The Grapevine Faith Christian volleyball team finished one place out of a playoff berth in 2013, and the objective this season is to make the postseason.

Coach Stephanie Sloane said that her players are looking pretty good early on in the summer practices and said she believes they are ready to get going with the season.

“Things are shaping up really well,” Sloane said. “I think we have one of the strongest group of girls trying out that we've had in a long time, for all three teams. The caliber is higher than it has been.”

Sloane said the objectives for the coming season are pretty straightforward for the Lady Lions.

“We definitely want to be in the playoffs, and go as far as we possibly can,” Sloane said. “Our hope, of course, is state. But we'll see. We have a pretty young team and it will ultimately come to how we compete.”

Faith finished fifth in district in 2013 and graduated six seniors from last year's team.

Some of the key returning players this season for Faith include libero Ellie Heppes, outside hitter Emma Spalding and defensive specialist Alex Arthur.

“Ellie is one of the best, I believe, in the district, in terms of reading a hitter and working a defense,” Sloane said. “Emma worked a position last year that she's not really supposed to at middle. She's quick, but she's not very tall. I am looking forward to the possibility of moving her to the outside hitter position. Alex is really is our DS, and is really a big spark plug for the team.”

Sloane said she expects Midland Christian to be the Lady Lions’ toughest rival this year in district.

“Most of her team is returning this season, and she had a pretty strong team last year,” Sloane said. “I would say that second to that would be Fort Worth Christian. They are our cross-town rivals, and there is a mental aspect to that.”

In order for Faith to have a strong season and hopefully make a good run into the playoffs, Sloane said she believes that it will take a couple of things from her team.

“I think that above all else, we have to maintain our focus,” Sloane said. “We need to really focus on the fundamentals of practice. We need to work when it's time to work and have fun when it's time to have fun. And then our focus needs to be only on the next play. If we can do that, that play turns into the next play, and nothing can stop us.”

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