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Wylie East hopes to dominate volleyball court with size

by | Aug 5, 2023 | Sports

In their first season at the 6A level, Wylie East volleyball finished second in District 9-6A and won a playoff game against Rockwall-Heath.

This season, they’re aiming for much more than that. Head coach Niki Calverley is excited about the prospects the team has in 2023 and isn’t holding back on their goals for the new season.

“We believe we can win a district championship this season,” Calverley said. “We’re getting better and better every year. What’s great about this season is that a lot of those kids who have been younger are now our experienced players. We have a lot of juniors and seniors this year and our expectations are high and their goals are high because of it.”

Those returning players include Wylie East’s top front row players – outside hitter Julia Hicks, middle blockers Erika Hernandez and Addison Achilles and opposite hitters Amy Hernandez and Grace Achilles. All five players are now juniors and seniors, with Addison and Grace the two seniors of the group, and have shown their versatility and ability to dominate the net.

With that group returning, Wylie East figures to be a competitive team next season, with their ability at the net key to the team’s success.

“We’re definitely looking strong up front, with even more new blood moving in to make that stronger,” Calverley said. “We’ve got a lot of height, which is a big advantage for us and their versatility is going to be key for us.”

Hicks was the team’s MVP last season and is the most versatile of that core group returning. She led the team with 328 kills and 53 aces, along with over 300 digs last season. With so many front row options, Hicks’ ability to be a six-rotation player will be key to the Lady Raiders’ success.

“She’s a huge leader for us and is incredibly well-rounded as a volleyball player,” Calverley said. “She helps keep things consistent and is just a reliable person on the court. It relaxes the team and they all know they can go to her if the team runs into trouble.”

Starting libero Jordyn Wacaster also returns for her junior year after leading the team in digs last season. She’ll be tasked with leading a Wylie East back row with much less experience and replacing some key seniors.

“She’s sort of a quiet leader for us, but she’s so experienced that she really helps guide us on the court,” Calverley said.

With Wylie East’s season right around the corner, the team is rounding out its starting lineup for the new season. The team has several players they feel really good about for the year, but it’s finding the right pieces in place to make those district championship and state tournament goals a reality.

“We’ll be looking at different options and moving people around in the different positions they’re put in,” Calverley said. “It’ll make us stronger as a team having that many options, and we feel really good about all of the players we have at our disposal.”

Wylie East’s season begins on the road at Argyle on Tuesday, Aug. 8. The team’s first home game will be the following week on Tuesday, Aug. 15 against JJ Pearce.

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