By Allen VanNess
It takes an entire team to be successful in sports, and one would be hard-pressed to find anyone more team-oriented than head coach Shelly Jones and her Marshfield Lady Jays.
Coming off a 14-12 record that included a second place finish in the COC-Small and a seven-point district semifinals loss to Helias Catholic, the Jays lost a number of players to graduation, including Peyton Greenlee (all-state,), Lilly Johns (all-district, all-conference), Sklyer Collison, Allie Owens and Paige Taylor.
Fortunately for the Lady Jays, because of the leadership and mentoring by the graduating seniors from last season, Jones is confident her players are ready and prepared to lead the next wave of success at Marshfield.
“I believe the test of true player leadership is measured in the impact they leave behind on the other players,” Jones said of her graduating seniors. “Our returning players are confident and ready to fill multiple roles due to how these five seniors led our program.”
Two players who will be looked upon to play major roles for the Lady Jays this season are Caitlin King and Savanna Vance. Jones is confident the two seniors are ready to lead the way for the young Marshfield team.
“Caitlin will be a catalyst on the defensive end of the floor and will play pivotal roles on the offensive side,” Jones said. “Savanna is versatile and a mobile post with speed. She is also a great vocal leader for us on both ends of the floor.”
Even with only one returning starter, Jones is confident she has a number of players who are equipped and ready to step into a starting role this season.
“This year’s team will need to have balanced scoring and play selfless defense each possession to be successful,” said Jones. “We have one returning starter, but I believe others are prepared and ready to step into those starting roles.”
Jones preaches that solid defense leads to good offense, and that is exactly what she hopes and expects her Lady Jays to do this season.
“We will focus on defense and holding our opponent to a low shooting percentage,” said Jones. “We hope to have our defense generate our offense and play disciplined defense.”
Overall, while the Lady Jays will be somewhat young, Jones is ready to get the season started and see what her team is made of.
“I am super excited to see how this team gels together and works as one unit,” said Jones. “If we can stay healthy and keep a fire in our gut, we will be a contender for both the conference and district race.”
Marshfield opens the season at home, Nov. 22, against Camdenton.