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Full of youth: Lady Bobcats to lean on underclassmen
With the Celina volleyball team earning the District 10-3A championship last season, an extended playoff run is next on the agenda.
However, this season’s team will have a different look after key players such as Amanda Gerths, Danielle Lynn, Kynzie Newman and August Cronin have all graduated.
That will put the pressure on several new faces and start a quick youth movement at key positions.
“We’ll be extremely young,” said Billy Coleman, Celina head coach. “We’ve got a lot of athletic kids though, and some really hard-working kids.”
The Lady Bobcats will return just three players from the all-district team with sophomore K.J. Stastny, junior Bailee Moore and senior Shayna Moore figuring to have key roles on the new-look team.
“[Stastny] was someone we went to a lot in clutch situations last year when we needed a big kill,” Coleman said.
Despite winning the district title last season, the Lady Bobcats got bounced in the opening round of the playoffs after a straight-set loss to Prosper. Coleman said the team’s potential postseason matchups should be easier with Prosper and perennial powerhouse Lovejoy bumped up to Class 4A now.
“We don’t have a Prosper or a Lovejoy to go through this year,” he said. “That should make things a lot better for us.”
Celina will now have to play the likes of Argyle, Aubrey, Carrollton Ranchview and Frisco Lone Star after leaving Van Alstyne, Bonham, Commerce and Anna behind for a new district.
“Argyle is extremely tough,” Coleman said. “It should be a dog fight in our district this year. It’s really up in the air who will win it.”
In replacing last season’s seniors, the Lady Bobcats will have big shoes to fill, with Gerths (Setter of the Year), Lynn (Hitter of the Year) and Newman (first team) part of 10-3A’s best in 2011.
“[Newman and Lynn] never came off the floor,” Coleman said. “We’re talking about two players that played the entire game pretty much every game.”
Joining Stastny and the Moores in key roles will be Kylie Campbell. They will be complemented by other new faces at each position.
“Every year you have to regroup and start over again,” Coleman said. “This is nothing new for us.”
Coleman, who will begin his second season leading the Lady Bobcats, said he is confident in his new team, despite any holes at the moment.
“We’ve looked a little rusty early on, which is to be expected,” he said. “It will take them a while to get into a groove, but we should be on a role by the time district starts.”
With the team breaking through for its first district championship a year ago, the Lady Bobcats will now try to take their success a level further.
“Now it’s their turn,” Coleman said. “Last year our group of seniors led the way. We just have to see how [the underclassmen] do on the varsity level now.”
Celina will play its season opener Tuesday with a home meeting against Sanger. Matches begin at 5 p.m. with the freshman team.