Meadowdale volleyball coach Machen Shrum has a little bit of a problem, but it’s a problem most coaches would gladly welcome.
The Mavericks return what Shrum describes as the most mature group of players in her eight years as head coach at Meadowdale. Six players are back from last year’s district playoff squad and the roster includes nine seniors and two juniors.
The problem? Not every senior is going to see as much playing time as she would like.
But the players know what to expect.
“This group of girls is pretty understanding of where I’m at with playing time,” Shrum said. “Just because you’re a senior does not mean you’re going to play a lot.”
Senior setter Tara Fishback, a first-team, all-league selection, returns to lead the offense. Fishback played high level club volleyball in the offseason and she comes into the 2013 better than ever.
“She’s a little more confident with running the court,” Shrum said. “There’s more communication with her hitters. The hitters are really trusting her. She knows where each hitter is and where they prefer their sets.”
Meadowdale has different players to turn to on offense. Senior Sloane Morrison is a first-team, all-league middle blocker. Senior Kayla Cummins is a right side hitter, who has stepped up her play from last year, Shrum said. Senior Gabrielle Mahler likely will be shifting from the middle to the outside this season.
“We do have some options,” Shrum said. “We feel really comfortable. … I feel I have three strong hitters. Others are coming along and are getting stronger day by day.”
The third returning first-team, all-leaguer is senior libero/defensive specialist Amy Rickel. Another defensive standout and strong blocker is junior McKenna Williams.
All this talent translates into high expectations, namely getting back to state. Meadowdale had four straight state appearances from 2008-2011 and finished seventh in 2011. Three of this year’s seniors have played in the state tournament.
“I really would like every senior on the team to have a state experience,” Shrum said. “Every kid always has a dream to go to state. We have nine seniors. We were not able to make it last year. The majority haven’t been able to go to state. That’s a big push for us.”
Three teams out of districts will advance to state this season.
“We are anticipating a really strong, solid year,” Shrum said. “We’ve set our goals high. We’re excited and hopeful to return to state.”