Lady Dogs starting from scratch
Nine seniors are gone from last season’s 25-7 team that earned co-district and bi-district titles before falling in the area round of the playoffs.
The lone returnee is junior Emi ly Churchman who was moved up towards the end of season by Coehlo for the playoffs.
Despite lack of varsity experience on her roster, Coelho is ready to get things started.
“ This year is going to be a great year,” she said. “I have four seniors that have been ready for this year to start since May.” Those four are Shelby Anders, Meagan Cuba, Kamryn Holder and Madison Kropp.
There were 25 girls at the first day of practice for the Lady Dogs this season.
“I have a great bunch of girls and they have been in the program long enough to know my expectations,” Coelho said. “The next several months will take a lot of dedication, hard work, communication and knowing and accepting their responsibilities. There are the key elements for a successful season.”
Also on the varsity roster are juniors Shelbie Schneider and Savannah Driver, along with sophomores Kailey Cargill and Emily Garza.
BIG LOSSES—Lost to graduation was last year’s district offensive MVP Heather Butterworth, defensive MVP Tamicka Cook and all-state middle blocker Olivia Atkins, along with first team all-district selection Marlene Hall and second teamers Shelbie Maupin and Kristen Butterworth.
Setter Shelby Pausewang and reserves Taryn Betak and Kristen Garza also graduated. The trio were all honorable mention all-district picks.
Thorndale reached the area round of the playoffs last season defeating Mart, but then fell to regional tournament qualifier Blum in a marathon five- set match in the area round.
Churchman’s play kept the Lady Dogs’ in the hunt during that game.
Thorndale had missed the post-season the previous two seasons before that while they were in the Class 2A division.
Coelho feels her team is always a threat for a post-season position.
“We play volleyball to compete and win, so you bet a playoff spot is in our sites,” she said.
Thorndale will face district foes Bartlett, Buckholts, Granger, Georgetown Gateway, Holland, Thrall and Milam County neighbor Milano.
SCRIMMAGES—Thorndale played in scrimmage matches held at Del Valle and Rockdale over the weekend.
“In the scrimmages we looked good,” Coelho said. “It is a new team so it will take a few more games working together for the girls to get comfortable with each other.”
SEASON OPENER—The Lady Dogs lost their season opener Tuesday night to Austin Hyde Park in straight sets at Bulldog Gym, 20-25, 19-25, 16-25.
Churchman led the effort with four kills, two assists and six digs. Kailey Cargill had a notable two kills, two assists and four digs and Shelbi Anders five digs.