By Chris Parker
Crane volleyball had a young team last year featuring just one senior. That young team posted a 15-15-3 overall record.
“I think that our biggest lesson learned last year is that when we play as a team, we win games. It takes a team,” Crane head coach Amy Medlin said. “Our team grew a lot mentally as the season went on. Losing a lot of games at the beginning of the season was hard on everyone, but once we realized that we could play with (and beat) most of the teams we were playing, our mindset changed.”
Zoe Reel was a star for Crane in her freshman year last season. She put down 409 kills averaging 6.2 kills per set. The rest of Crane’s players had a combined 147 total kills.
“Zoe is such a talented athlete. She is able to read the defense and put the ball where she wants most of the time. Her strength and jumping ability are amazing and she uses both to her advantage,” Medlin said. “I expect her to continue to be a big offensive threat. I have no doubt that she will continue to develop her skill set and even exceed her accomplishments as a freshman.”
Setter Sidnie Blevins will return to set Reel up for those kills. Blevins had 441 assists last year, which helped her earn honorable mention all-conference honors.
“Sidnie has stepped into the setter position and leads our offense well. Having her on the floor, with the experience she has, is critical for our team,” Medlin said. “I expect that she will continue to lead by example in her last year at Crane.”
Seniors Celsie Killman (middle hitter/blocker), Chesney Essary (defensive specialist) and Mackenzie Myers (serving specialist) will all play key roles. Sophomore Lillie McMenamy will be a key player on the front row.
Crane will work throughout the season to get ready for a post-season that will move from a best-of-three format to best-of-five format.
“I am a little apprehensive about playing a five-set format, simply because it will something completely new to us at the end of the season,” Medlin said. “Stamina will play a big part in these games. We will prepare for it throughout the season and be ready when the time comes.”
Crane opens the season on Sept. 1 at Clever.
“I want to see my players continue to develop and grow on and off the court,” Medlin said. “Playing as a team is the one thing that can make or break this season for us. I want all of my girls to give it their all and being a teammate that others can depend on.”