As the month of August swiftly approached, the McKinney North volleyball team prepared for a new season wanting to improve on last year's disappointing 9-28 record. With only four seniors returning to the varsity team, coach Shannon Alvarado had to do so with youth.
But so far this season, North has done just that. The Lady Bulldogs have an 8-8 overall record after Tuesday's 3-1 victory over Carrollton Newman Smith, though Alvarado has some areas she’d like to improve on before District 13-4A competition starts late next week.
“We’ve had to fill some rolls that were vacant with some other younger players,” Alvarado said. “I think they’re starting to embrace those rolls. Some players have had to take a different roll this season, which is a challenge no matter what age you are.”
After watching the Lady Bulldogs rally Tuesday to win at home, they proved that although there are speed bumps along the way, but this squad is more competitive than a year ago. Having just come out of a weekend spent playing the Lewisville Tournament, where the team finished with a 4-1 record, the Lady Bulldogs looked as if they flowed quite well.
Although they lost their first set 17-25, they made a comeback, winning the next three. North took the following sets 25-20, 25-21, 25-19. During the match, the Lebero, Lexey Wilson, led the team defensively with 25 digs. Abbey Middleton racked up 39 assists, while outside hitter Courtney Kankle led the squad with 14 kills. On top of it all, Melissa Nichols added three ace serves.
After the game, when asked about leadership on this particular team and where it thrives the most, Alvarado had very inspiring words to her four seniors.
“Viona Vraniqi is always going to be that workhorse," she said. "Megan Brehm is fantastic; Lexey Wilson, Allison Camp, all four of our seniors are able to lead in their own unique way.”
The Lady Bulldogshave one tournament and one non-district match left on the schedule before the grind of District 13-4A arrives. And while this is only the beginning of the journey for the 2012-13 Lady Bulldogs, Alvarado has high hopes this season.
“We’ve got to learn to win," she said. "Last year was a tough season for all of us so it’s a process of learning. We know we can do better.”
North will head to the Frisco ISD tournament to finish out its pre-season tournament schedule and will begin play Thursday evening against Carrollton R.L. Turner at 5 p.m.
For TSB's Volleyball Scoreboard from Tuesday's MISD matches please click here or go the Sports section on Town Square Buzz.
Editor's Note: Photos submitted by Kellie Anfosso. Also don't forget to check out the Image Gallery below.