Aurora, MO (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- After a losing 7-22-1 season last year, the Aurora volleyball Houn’ Dawgs’ team has a new coach, Susan Patterson, and with her a new perspective on how to play the game.
Patterson, who is replacing Tisha Fronaberger as head coach, has given up any preconceptions about the team, moved players into positions of her liking and is firmly committed to doing things her way.
“I just came in here without any preconceived notions,” said Patterson. “I just wanted to do what I thought was best… that’s my strategy if I’m coming into a program that maybe wasn’t super successful in the past.”
That isn’t to say Patterson doesn’t have a lot of experienced players to work with. Although many on the team will be sporting new positions, a total of six seniors will be returning to the varsity team, including one of the team’s top players in Taylon Sumners (libero).
Also returning are seniors Meghan Newbold (middle hitter), Kayleah Gilmore (outside hitter), Kaleigh Brown (right side hitter), Brooke Miller (right side hitter) and Sheri Keene (right side hitter).
Senior Morgan Waggoner, an outside hitter from last season who was injured in league play, will return as the team’s manager. She will not be playing in matches this season due to her injury.
In addition, the varsity team will also feature two new setters, freshman Teagan Sumners and sophomore Reagan Klein, in their typical 6-2 formation. Sophmores Lakin Waggoner (middle hitter) and junior Jordan Hall (outside hitter) will also be contributing to the varsity team full time.
Commenting on the team as a whole, Patterson said, “I know we have improved over the summer and I expect the girls to do better, I expect our record to be better.”
In particular, Patterson, who says she recognizes a great amount of athleticism in her team, has been stressing the development of fundamental skills and bringing the team closer together on plays. The Houn’ Dawgs, she says, are already good at “net play” and she thinks that, overall, the team is better than it was last year; all that’s left is getting that to show on the court.
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