Silver Knights’ Spikers Ready for ’19
With just over two weeks to go, excitement in Tyler County is building for the official start of the 2019 Volleyball season. The Knights are fresh off a campaign that saw them capture an LKC Conference Championship and finish as State Runners-Up. Gone from that team are six seniors who had the rare opportunity to play in four state tournaments. This will create a huge void for Coach Richard Summers to fill as the season begins.
“Those were six great players who were also great leaders,” said Summers. “I will certainly miss their skills but as a coach to have that kind of leadership is a tremendous blessing. And amazingly a couple of them are still helping the girls,” he said.
However, even with the loss of six seniors the cupboard is far from bare for the Knights. The Silver and Black have nineteen girls on the squad and return a lot of girls with big game experience. Junior Regan Smith returns after a break out season which saw her earn All-Tournament Honors in Charleston. This year, in addition to hitting, she will be assuming the duties of a setter in what looks like may be a 6-2 offense. “We are asking a lot of Regan this year. She is a good player. If I can get her to not just accept being good, she can be a great one; as good as any we’ve had” said Coach Summers.
Three seniors return with a lot of experience in Allie Miller, Summer Miller, and Madison Devaughn. All will be expected to play a major role this year, according to Coach Summers. “They have been with us for three years and they know what is expected of them,” he said. “You are only as good as your seniors and I think these three will form a very nice base for us. Devaughn seems to have the lead on the libero position while Summer and Allie are fighting for front row positions.”
The Knights return several other key players expecting to see a lot of playing time. Coach Summers noted, “We had several girls put in a lot of time in the weight room or conditioning on their own in the off season.
Victoria Hood lived in the weight room and is our most improved player. She will start as a middle hitter. Lindsay Thompson, Sadie Nichols and Landry Buchanan all worked hard in the off season and reported to camp in the best shape they have been in,” he said. “Lindsay will play a middle spot and Sadie and Landry will compete for defensive specialist positions along with sophomore Brooke Mason. Another Sophomore, Caleigh Phillips will compete for the second setter spot and play in the front row.”
Coach Summers seems pleased with what he has seen to date and won’t use the term rebuilding for this year.
“”We don’t use that term as the girls know what our expectations are for this year,” he said. “And we don’t use the term ‘young’ as that is just an excuse if things don’t go well, in my opinion. Many of our 19 girls played club last year and put in the time on their own to get better. They are facing a brutal schedule but come November I think we will be a well prepared team and that is our goal every year.”
The Knights open their season on September 4th with a home quad match, before heading to Oak Glen for a tournament. The Knights should be an exciting team to watch.