Katie Wanamaker’s first act as new coach of the Warren County High School volleyball team was to hold tryouts last week. Wanamaker kept 18 players, including 11 returning Lady Pioneers the new coach hopes will continue to help the team claw back to the top of District 6AAA.
“We have a great group coming back this season as well as a great group of freshmen coming in,” said Wanamaker. “This year’s team is fairly young. We will rely on the leadership of our three seniors and I have full faith they will be able to lead the team in a positive direction.”
The senior class includes Lorren Cannon, Bailey Martin and Raylee Pack. Wanamaker will be the fourth coach for the group during their time at Warren County High School, following Dena Upton’s two-year stay, a short stint by Leah Simpson and Franklin Fisher’s retirement after the 2012 season.
The senior class has seen the highs – during their freshman year, Warren County won the district – as well as the lows of a five-win season as sophomores. Last year, the Lady Pioneers bounced back to win 20 games.
Wanamaker wants to see similar growth this season.
“Last year’s team quadrupled the win total from 2013. I consider that a tremendous improvement,” said Wanamaker. “I am expecting even more improvement this year.”
A big reason for Wanamaker’s confidence is the return of sophomore Bethany Fye, one of the top freshman in the district last year, and junior starters Lauren Hennessee and Brooke Murphy. Combined with the senior class and junior reserves Abigail McKinley and Skyler Youngblood, the Lady Pioneers have a wealth of players to mix and match.
Sophomores Hope Mullican, Kaylee Chisam and Ali Wrisner are hoping to make greater impacts on the varsity team this season as well. Mullican saw action on varsity as a freshman.
There’s a chance the freshman class could follow in the footsteps of Fye and Mullican and make immediate contributions on the varsity level.
Kelsey Fults, Carigan Aughinbaugh, Emily Mikkola, Marah Wanamaker, Hailey Wood, Ashton Whiles and Tyra Wright were the nucleus of a 17-5 team at Warren County Middle School last year. Coach Wanamaker wants to see how they will compete as freshmen.
“As eighth-graders, this group had a great season. I’m excited to see how they will contribute to this year’s team,” said Wanamaker.
Wanamaker plans on focusing her attack on an “amazing group of hitters” coming back and hopes to improve the team’s passing and serving. Sticking to the small details will be part of Wanamaker’s workouts when the team starts play.
“Fundamentals will play a huge factor in how our practices will run,” said Wanamaker. “I want the girls to go back to the basics to get a firm foundation of passing so we as a team will be more accurate passers in games.”
Serving accuracy will also be a major point of emphasis.
“One of my pet peeves is missed serves. When you miss a serve, you give the other team a free point,” said Wanamaker. “Mastering your serve comes with repetition. I plan on giving the girls as many reps as possible.”
Warren County will begin fall practice Monday, July 27.