By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Coach Jodie Schuller said at the start of this year’s Lady Longhorn volleyball season that it would be a young team on the court.
That held true, but Schuller was happy to report as their year ended last week, the young team showed considerable improvement during the two-month season.
“We’ve really seen a lot of improvement from last summer to now,” she said.
The Lady Longhorns ended with a 14-17 record, but Schuller said, realistically, that should have been 17-14. Three games probably should have gone the other way.
Five seniors were on the roster this season—Karlee Kunnemann, Paula Leibbrandt, Mayra Acosta, Maria Ramos and Dee Dee Pursley. However, just one of them, Kunnemann, had any significant varsity experience coming into the season.
Kunnemann was great on back row defense and also as a hitter, Schuller said.
Leibbrandt was the team’s main setter during the season and had “great hands,” Schuller said.
Acosta was a real leader on the team, Schuller said, and played as a back row specialist and libero.
Ramos came along during the season as a hitter, and was also used in the back row, Schuller noted.
Pursley was out for volleyball for the first time this year, and did a great job transitioning from softball. She probably showed the most improvement, Schuller said.
“We saw a lot of improvement with our seniors and the team as a whole,” Schuller said.
But, that was contrasted with inconsistency much of the year, she added, which happens with a young and inexperienced team.
Looking to 2010, Schuller said they will still be a young team, but many of those younger players were able to see varsity time this season.
Two sophomores and a junior are the top three players in this year’s stats for kills and total attacks—Shannon Liewer, Lexee Reichert and Shayla Dinnel.
Liewer finished the season with 846 total attacks and 217 kills. Reichert had 550 and 142, while Dinnel finished with 486 and 123.
Leibbrandt, a senior, is at the top for ace serves this year (27), but the next four in line are Chantal Heathers (24), Liewer (21), Dinnel (17) and Reichert (14), all who’ll be back next year.
Heathers and Liewer also top the team stats for digs with 291 and 335, respectively.
The Lady Longhorns set two team records this season for most hits and most good hits, Schuller noted.
The new “most hits” record is 3,136 for the season, breaking last year’s of 2,895.
In the “most good hits” category, Chase County set a new record with 2,677, also breaking last year’s of 2,571.
There were a couple of memorable moments this year’s team should keep in mind, Schuller said.
The first came during the Gordon/Rushville tournament Sept. 12, when Chase County beat Bridgeport, who qualified for the state tournament this week as a wild card team.
Secondly, in the team’s final appearance at home this season Oct. 20, the Lady Longhorns had a great match win over Hershey after losing to them in the SPVA tournament.
Although Chase County had also beaten Hershey in the Lexington tournament, “That was a great win for the seniors,” Schuller said.
Team captains picked
Seniors Paula Leibbrandt and Mayra Acosta were chosen by their teammates as honorary captains for the 2009 season.
CCS Coach Jodie Schuller said a vote among the team members was taken the past week to determine this year’s honorees.
Each year, Schuller asks the girls to select honorary team captains who exhibit leadership both on and off the court.
Leibbrandt was the team’s starting setter and also led the Lady Longhorns in ace serves. She was second in total serves this season.
Acosta played the libero position for the majority of contests this year, and finished the season with 63 digs, fourth on the Chase County charts this year.
Both girls will be recognized again at the end-of-season potluck dinner and program.