Young St. Joseph volleyball team hungry for new season

Aug. 4, 2011 at 3:04 a.m.

Analise Ybarbo hustles after the ball as the Lady Flyers prepare for a new season. FRANK TILLEY/FTILLEY@VICAD.COM

Analise Ybarbo hustles after the ball as the Lady Flyers prepare for a new season. FRANK TILLEY/FTILLEY@VICAD.COM

The St. Joseph Lady Flyers have to find replacements for three all-district players and have only a trio of upperclassmen coming back from last seasons playoff team.

But don't look for the team to use their youth as an excuse nor for them to call this a rebuilding year.

"We know these kids are going to be very scrappy," said Lady Flyers co-head coach Allyson Griffin.

In 2010, St. Joseph finished fourth in TAPPS District 2-5A and were eliminated in the area playoffs by Plano Prestonwood.

Senior middle blocker Amanda Kurtz garnered second team all-state and first-team all-district honors last year, while Brianna Shimek and Brandi Calvo were also named to the all-district team.

Six of the 12 players on last season's roster graduated, but Griffin is confident that the younger players will step in and replace those players.

"We have a group of juniors and sophomores will most likely come in that are very strong players," Griffin said. "They will fill those voids."

Tucker, along with fellow senior Emily Conti and junior Analise Ybarbo, figure to be three top performers for the Lady Flyers this season.

They will also be counted for to provide leadership for the young team.

"We need to push them to be as good as they can be so they can be a strong team," Ybarbo said about the underclassmen.

Tucker won the District 2-5A Setter of the Year award in 2010 and said she's seen a major difference in this season's team based on summer workouts.

"I think that last year we lacked the heart and we have more heart so we'll be able to win more games," Tucker said.

Not only did the Lady Flyers lose experience with the graduation of last year's seniors, but they also lost some height, especially with the departure of Shimek and Kurtz.

This means there will be changes in strategy and execution.

"We have to get really good passes in and I think our defense can do it this year," Conti said.

Added Ybarbo: "Our back row must be very good this year."

St. Joseph opens the regular season on Monday when it hosts Palacios and opens TAPPS District 2-5A play on Sept. 1 at San Antonio Holy Cross.

The Lady Flyers will face defending TAPPS 5A state champion San Antonio Antonian twice this season in district play.

A win over the defending state champs would do well to boost the confidence of a team that is still young and working to make its mark.

"We want to be the ones that get to go there so we want to beat them and really show what we've got," Ybarbo said.

Before beginning TAPPS District 2-5A, play Griffin said the Lady Flyers have to find an identity and find out exactly what roles players will play on the team.

St. Joseph has non-district games against Palacios, Kenedy, Faith Academy and Shiner, along with three tournaments to prepare for its district opener.

Tucker said that although most of the players are inexperienced the Lady Flyers should suprise some people this season.

"I think we can show that we're a better team than what people think," Tucker said.



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