Veteran Lady Eagles look for continued success

After a decade of excellence, Milano remains a threat
Reporter Staff Writer
MILANO—There might be different foes standing in the way of their district title due to the UIL realignment last spring, but that has not fazed the Milano Eagles and their head coach Wendy King.

Wendy King enters her 17th season as Milano’s head volleyball coach with over 300 wins and 10 district championships in tow. Wendy King enters her 17th season as Milano’s head volleyball coach with over 300 wins and 10 district championships in tow. King will look to take her senior laden roster to the postseason for the 10th consecutive year and earn the school’s third straight district title.

Last season, where Milano was ranked as high as ninth in the state, the girls finished 30- 12 and were the District 16-A champions, going 10-0 in that league two straight years.

They did not lose a set against district foes during the 2008 and 2009 season. For both those seasons, the Lady Eagles were defeated in the regional quarterfinals by Cayuga.

The team’s best showing was in 2005 at the end of a fouryear run t the state tournament where they finished as silver medalist to Class A powerhouse Windthorst and a 40-5 record. Milano has not missed the postseason since 2000.

Adrian Adrian The Lady Eagles return a roster full of talent and athleticism this season.

Top returnees are seniors Masey Turnage, Taryn Love and Allison Dodd. Outside hitter Turnage was the district’s most valuable player last year, while Love, another outside hitter, and setter Dodd were the offensive and defensive MVPs, respectively.

Other key returnees are senior Stephanie Philpott and junior Desiree Adrian, both first team all-district selections in 2009.

Senior Brittany Bullock is on the varsity roster, but has injured her knee according to King and it is unknown at this point when she will be released to play.

Newcomers to the varsity roster are sophomores Stonie Guthrie and Kiersten Bastow.

Turnage Turnage “Stonie was chosen for her net play. She can really jump,” King said. “Her ability to block and touch balls above the net are going to be a big plus for us.”

Bastow will be the team’s libero. “She is a hustler and she has good instincts,” King added. “ I look for her to add to our already strong defensive team.”

King said that both of the young sophomores didn’t seem intimidated about playing on the varsity and that she thinks they will settle in quickly. Guthrie and Bastow are replacing Brittany Compton and Jenna Morgan, both lost to graduation.

“What we are losing in experience I think we are gaining in athleticism,” King said.

New district, same foes

“The new district is really the ‘old’ district for us,” King said. “We seem to go back and forth every four years.”

The new District 25-A includes the Lady Eagles, familiar foes Bartlett, Buckholts, Granger, Holland and Thrall, along with newcomer Georgetown Gateway.

Granger was the team that stopped Milano’s 15-game winning streak last season in a five set playoff warm up game.

“I look for us to be very competitive. I will be very disappointed if we don’t make the playoffs but we are not shooting for third if you know what I mean,” King said.

The veteran coach said she knows that with the lack of size on her roster, the team will have to rely on their scrappy defense that keeps their opponents on their toes.

“I always tell the girls that win or lose, I want people to say, ‘Gosh, those girls play hard!’ If that happens then I am happy,” King said. “I know it will be a great season. They are a great group and we are going to have a lot of fun.”

Season opener

After scrimmages in Franklin on Aug. 6, the Lady Eagles kicked off their season Tuesday night at the Geneva Paceley Gym with a straight set victory over Rosebud Lott, 25-12, 25-14, 25-21.

Milano easily won the first two games, but the visiting Lady Cougars made it interesting in the final set, rallying to within three points on three separate occasions.

The Lady Eagles were finally able to put it away to nab their first win of the 2010 season.

Taryn Love and Masey Turnage had stand out performances with Love recording 13 kills and one ace, while Turnage had nine kills.

Allison Dodd had 14 assists and one kill and Stephanie Philpott 11 assists, one dig, two kills and three aces.

In her first varsity start, Stonie Guthrie hammered six kills and two aces. Desiree Adrian had three kills and three digs, while libero Kiersten Bastow had two digs.

Milano’s junior varsity and freshmen teams were also victorious over Rosebud-Lott. The JV won 25-14, 25-12, while the freshmen took straight sets 25- 21, 25-16.

NOTES— Milano will hold its “Meet the Eagles” pep rally and cake auction at the high school gym at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 18...The district has had some coaching changes over the summer. Katrina Howell is the new assistant volleyball and assistant girls basketball coach and Monica Whiteley has been named the head cross country and golf coach. Andrew Applewhite, assistant football and assistant boys basketball coach has left for a job in Decatur. Girls athletic coordinator Virginia Beard is the new girls basketball coach after Tashia Terry left the district and has taken a teaching job at Belton ISD.

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