By Chris Parker
Houston volleyball has improved its win total each of the past three seasons. If that trend is to keep up in 2019, the Lady Tigers will have to replace the production of three graduated all-conference players.
“That senior group was a lot of fun, and I will miss not only how they competed on the court but also how they truly stood for our team mission of character, unity and servant leadership,” Houston head coach Loran Richardson said. “They will be hard to replace but I have three returning varsity starters who do a great job and a lot of young girls who work hard.”
Janae Huff will orchestrate the offense as a setter once again. She led the team with 199 assists last year as a junior.
“While Janae is pretty quiet on and off the court, she leads by example. She is my most consistent player and doesn’t let much rattle her on the court,” Richardson said.
Senior Viv Guerra is the top returning hitter after putting down 95 kills last year, which was good enough for third place on the team. Classmate Kelly Hubbs will move from the role of outside hitter to libero in her senior year.
Baylee Weaver (senior outside hitter), Prairie Nunnery (junior middle hitter), Sarah Purcell (sophomore middle hitter), Hannah Dzurick (sophomore setter), Lexie Spratt (junior outside hitter), Kellsi Gayer (junior defensive specialist), Saydie Hughes (junior defensive specialist), taylor Medlock (senior defensive specialist) and Mackenzie Holder (sophomore outside hitter) are all candidates to fill out the varsity lineup.
Richardson expects her team to continue its trend of increasing win total this season.
“We’ve improved every year over the last three years and I expect this season to be the same. I expect us to compete in every game we play and to fight until the very end,” Richardson said. “These girls did some great things this summer and their hard work will pay off. Our inexperience will show at times but I believe they will continue to get better as the season progresses.”
Houston will travel to Cabool on Aug. 27 for a jamboree with the host Lady Bulldogs, MV-BT Liberty and Willow Springs. The Lady Tigers open the regular season on Sept. 3 at home against Licking.