It was a busy summer for several members of the Euless Trinity Lady Trojans volleyball team. Now, it’s time to get busy preparing for a return to the postseason, said coach Mia Langi.
Langi is entering her fifth season as head coach after spending two seasons as an assistant. She’s led the Lady Trojans to the postseason in each of her four seasons at the helm.
The Lady Trojans return six players, including five starters from last season’s 28-14 squad (7-5, tied for third in District 7-6A) that lost in bi-district to Midlothian in five games.
That was as close as Trinity has come to advancing beyond bi-district since 1995, when it reached the regional quarterfinals for its deepest playoff advancement.
But Langi is optimistic this year’s team has the skills to break through the first round. To do so, she said there is no complicated process, but focusing on the goal is key.
“Focus on quality and efficient touches during practices,” she said. “We will focus on one practice at a time and one match at a time.”
Leading that focus will be returning seniors Elli Merchant and Margo Dean. Both were first-team all-district 7-6A selections last season.
Merchant will attend Mercer University in Macon, Ga., on a beach volleyball scholarship next season. Dean, who is entering her fourth varsity season, has committed to play indoor volleyball at Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches.
In the meantime, they have a playoff berth to chase. Also returning to contribute to the quest are senior Amanda McDowell and juniors Veronica Dollar and Savanah Johnson. McDowell and Dollar were second-team all-district last season and Johnson was honorable mention.
Among the summer success for some Lady Trojans, Merchant’s team finished third in a national beach volleyball tournament, while Dean and Dollar played on teams that qualified for the USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Tournament. Johnson attended an Oklahoma University volleyball camp, and Hannah Zuege trained in Denver.
Also, most of the girls participated in Trinity’s own summer conditioning camp, Langi said.
And the team worked hard off the court. Langi said all of the girls helped with the 6 Stones Catalyst of Hope project each Thursday during the summer, an organization that builds community coalitions to help residents in need.
Langi said the team also added a new assistant coach this season. Zuela Adom is a Trinity alumna.
The Lady Trojans are moving into a new district this season. District 5-6A is topped by defending Class 6A state champions Lewisville Hebron, which captured its third title since 2004.
The new district also features a couple of old foes. Of course, there’s longtime rival Hurst L.D. Bell, under new head coach Jinni Walker, and perennial power Southlake Carroll. The Lady Dragons reached the regional quarterfinals last season, their 11th straight playoff berth.
Add in Trophy Club Nelson, which has made five straight playoff appearances, and Langi said it will be one challenging league.
“I would say one of the toughest districts in the state,” she said.
However, the Lady Trojans’ greatest strength, Langi added, isn’t anything they do on the court.
“Our greatest strength is the culture of our team being a family,” she said. “The girls have a great work ethic and we have their parents to thank for that.”