Texas College volleyball coach Russeal Wortham found reason for optimism at the start of a new season.
More height and the return of one of the team’s top players after a one-year absence greets the Lady Steers for 2012.
The Lady Steers get going with a tri-match today in Oklahoma City against Mid-American Christian and Southwestern Christian (Okla.).
TC finished 3-21 overall and 0-9 in the Red River Athletic Conference. Starting fresh with a clean slate motivates the team.
“I’m excited about the new season and girls,” Wortham said. “They’re ready to go and that’s a delight to have girls willing to do what it takes to get the job done.”
Kerryona Green (5-8, Jr., MB/OH, East St. Louis) bolsters the front row after totaling 69 kills and 20 blocks last year. Jour’Dan Gardner (5-10, Sr., MB/OH, Amarillo) provides another strong presence at the net after ranking second on the team last year with 86 kills.
Whitney Keys (5-7, Jr., DS, Fort Worth) racked up 126 digs last year, while Essence Vinson (So., Libero, Newton) and Shauniece Lewis (5-7, Sr., OH, Baytown) played sparingly.
Three first-year college players join the Lady Steers: Patricia Patterson (5-4, Fr., DS, Natalia), Jerrica Jenkins (6-1, Fr., MB/OH, Houston) and Tiffany Williams (5-8, RS, Houston). Two transfers round on the roster: Sherri Darden (5-10, Jr., MB/OH, San Antonio) from Dodge City (Kan.) and Denise Duplechin (5-6, Sr., Setter, Houston) from Jarvis Christian College.
“I’ve been positive about them,” Wortham said. “They’re a more talented group. We’ve got a little bit of height, which is what I’ve needed. And their cohesion is better.”
Amber Girdy (5-4, Sr., Libero, Carrollton, Ky.) rejoins the team she missed last season after the birth of daughter Kylie Girdy-Terrell. Girdy led the team with 262 digs in 2010.
“She’s just as good as before if not better,” Wortham said. “She’s set the tone for the rest of the team. It’s amazing how her presence has made a big difference.”
The Lady Steers spend the first few weeks against non-league opponents before getting into Red River Athletic Conference play, where defending NAIA national champion UT Brownsville resides.
Texas College 2012 Volleyball Schedule
Aug. 30at SW Christian#3, 5
Sept. 1at St. Thomas^TBD
Sept. 7-8at UT Tyler^TBD
Sept. 11at Philander Smith 6
Sept. 13Mid-America Christian 6
Sept. 15at Southern Arkansas1
Sept. 17Univ. of Dallas7
Sept. 21St. Thomas7
Sept. 28at Our Lady of the Lake*7
Sept. 29at UT Brownsville*1
Oct. 5at Dallas Christian#TBD
Oct. 15at U of DallasTBD
Oct. 22UT Tyler7
Nov. 2at Texas Wesleyan*7
Nov. 5at SW Assemblies*11
*—Red River Athletic Conference game