Volleyball Aims for Postseason Highs


Jaslyn Wacker readies to serve. Photo Courtesy/ Lionathletics.com

Zach Cottam, Staff Writer

As the fall semester starts up, the 2017 volleyball season comes along with it. The team starts the season off Friday and Saturday (Sept. 1 and 2) at the 2017 Texann Invitational Tournament in Stephenville, TX with two out of the four matches against ranked opponents: No. 18 Central Oklahoma and No. 23 Rockhurst.

Last year, at the 2016 Hilton Garden Inn Classic in Denton, the Lions finished the tourney 3-1, and hope to improve on that record in their tournament this year.

Last season, the Lions finished the year off 19-12, with a disappointing loss in the first round of the playoffs to 4th ranked Eastern New Mexico. They finished just outside the top 8 in the South Central Region, and aim to finish higher this year. Last year, the Lions played two top ranked matches, both against Angelo State, and lost both games. Fortunately, the Lions have no preseason-ranked opponents on their schedule, and hope to have a clear path towards the postseason.

After losing only two seniors to graduation, the Lions come to the court with a young but very experienced team. Out of 16 total players, only three have never played in a college volleyball game. Along with this experience also comes peace of mind. There are plenty of players beyond the starters that can come into a game and help the team if unforeseen circumstances were to arise.

The Lions had a very successful offseason as well, bringing in 6 transfer players and 3 freshman to the team.

However, the Lions lost their leader in points and kills in Taryn Driver, and their defensive leader in digs in Ashley Mireles. Despite this, Jaslyn Wacker, the Lions most prominent server and blocker remains on the team as a junior, and hopes to lead the team in points after following up Driver last season.

The 2017 Lone Star Conference Volleyball Preseason Coaches’ Poll, which was released on August 29, has the Lions ranked at 4th in the Lone Star Conference, behind Texas A&M Kingsville, Tarleton State, and last year’s tournament champions Angelo State.

Coming into their eighth season under head coach Craig Case, the Lions have gone 109-102 during his tenure here, earning a .517 winning percentage. The Lions start their official season following another set of away matches in Colorado on Tuesday, September 12th against Dallas Baptist here in Commerce.

[Update]: Lions win 3-0 over Southwest Baptist and fall 3-0 to No. 18 Central Oklahoma on Friday. Lions then win 3-0 over Maryville but fall to No. 23 Rockhurst on Saturday.