BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
WOODS CROSS – To call the Woods Cross High School volleyball team’s 2012 season a success would be a big understatement.
Their 28 total wins in the 2012 season tied the team for second place in all of 4A, and an undefeated Region 6 record only solidified their dominance.
In the playoffs, however, the Wildcats finished a disappointing fifth. For Stefani Jensen, who enters her fourth year as coach of the Lady Wildcats, the bar will be set even higher in 2013.
“Any time you have a successful season, the expectations the following year are definitely higher,” she said. “Our goals right now are simple: repeat and defend the region title and get better in state.”
The message has become clear to a number of players returning to the court this season. Among them is a trio of seniors who Jensen believes will help the Wildcats achieve both their goals.
Bryli Knell, a senior setter, is expected to be one of the biggest pieces to the Wildcats success. Knell guided the team as a solid setter last season and has immediately stepped into the role of a team leader, according to her coach.
Kacie Hirano is another important piece to the puzzle, and will play primarily in the libero (defensive specialist) position.
“She’s going to be the heart of the defense,” said Jensen. “She has a wealth of experience and knowledge and is able to set up the defense very well.”
McKenzie Bird is considered to be the team’s best all-around player, and can play nearly every position on the floor, giving Jensen a great option to work with, Jensen said.
“She can play as an outside hitter and is a solid defender too,” she said. “She’s really helped bring some of the younger girls along as well.”
Bird gives the team many options due to her diversity on the floor, Jensen said.
“She’s worked very hard to be one of the best all around players,” said Jensen. “She’s just a solid player.”
Lexi Lewis, also a senior, will fill the role of outside hitter left behind by Chloe Hirst, who graduated.
“It’ll be hard to do, but if anyone can, it’s her,” said Jensen.
The standout junior for the Lady Wildcats is Lindsey Tagge, who returns for her third year under Jensen’s tutelage.
She’ll be expected to play the libero role as well, and will balance out the floor in the back row.
Overall, the team is ready to hit the floor.
“They’ve been working hard in the weight room and have gotten better at their mental toughness,” said Jensen. “I think it’s within our reach to be better in the state competition this year.”
Lady Wildcats 2013 schedule
9-10 @ Cyprus
9-12 @ East
9-13, 14 Clawbuster Tournament
9-26 @ Clearfield
10-1 @ Judge Memorial
10-15 @ Highland
10-22 @ Kearns
10-24 @ Bountiful
10-31 Judge Memorial
11-8, 9 State 4A Tournament @ UVU