Keller Citizen

Lady Texans excited about fall, leadership of senior trio

The Northwest volleyball team wrapped up last season with a 5-9 mark in district competition and two places out of postseason contention, but a win over playoff bound Keller Central and a strong off-season has the Lady Texans excited about the coming fall.

Second-year coach Amy Gaston said that she is very pleased with the state of the Northwest volleyball team and said she anticipates a very good 2015 campaign.

“I think that we are in a great place,” Gaston said. “We’ve had a great spring and three seniors who have really taken hold of the team. We had a disappointing season from a record standpoint last year, but we learned a lot of lessons, and I am really proud of the progress we have made during the spring.

“We’ve spent a lot of time with team building and working on the type of culture we want our volleyball team to exude in terms of family, hard work and perseverance, just kind of the grit of it.”

Gaston said she is also feeling really good about the level of experience returning.

“You know, I think you learn a lot in the first year, and with the number of players we have returning, I think we will be better off in the second year,” Gaston said. “I feel more confident about knowing the district and the area coaches. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to get to know them better and see what the 6A level looks like here.”

Gaston said that she has had a couple of things she has really focused on this spring.

“We spent a lot of time just passing,” Gaston said. “I think that there is always more than one way to skin a cat, but I like the way that I skin mine. So we spent a lot of time passing and serving, and I think that the fans are going to see a different kind of pace from us this season as far as the kind of tempo we’re going to be running, so we’re really excited about that.”

Northwest returns three seniors in setter Morgan Baker, Tatum Talley at libero and Samantha Stalnaker as a utility player, a trio that Gaston expects to lead the way for the Lady Texans this season.

“Morgan’s a big factor to the type of tempo that we’re going to be running,” Gaston said. “She will be helping us a lot defensively. And then Sam is one of those who can play all three positions on the front row, and she gives the opponent a different look every time she swings at the ball.”

In order to get things back on track and return to the playoffs this coming season, Gaston said it will take a few things for Northwest.

“For us, the first thing is just winning the matches we’re supposed to win,” Gaston said. “Then we have to be able to pull out tough matches. Based on what I have seen from the girls this spring, I think you are going to see us win more of those tough matches. We always say that if lose a match, it’s because we were outscored, not out-worked. I think we are as competitive as we can be at this point and now it’s just about throwing the girls out there and seeing what they can do.”