Any in-depth look at the 2007 Lady Lions’ volleyball season has to look back to see what has been built.
The Lady Lions have made six consecutive Red River Conference Tournament appearances and have two consecutive 21-win seasons.
The past sets the standard for the future. A future, which head coach Hank Moore believes, “could be very special.”
The Lady Lions return Red River Conference Freshman of the Year Kelani Keoho. The freshmen led the conference in aces per game (1.0), was seventh in kills per game (3.0), and was ninth in assists per game (3.8).
Also returning is the versatile locker room leader, and three-year starter Kelly Ray.
Ray’s work for SAGU is evident in that she is second all-time in aces (95) and is second all-time in digs (938).
The trio of cornerstone returning Lady Lions is completed with Kara Hauck. Hauck also has left her mark on the SAGU volleyball program.
She has quietly ranked herself in three all-time categories; aces (third-92), assists (fourth-769), and digs (fourth-528).
Departing from the previous two 20-win teams is all-time block leader Sarah Strasemeier and all-time dig leader Esther Jacquez.
The departure of these leading ladies was the focus Coach Moore’s off-season recruiting.
Kelly Ray will make the transition to Libero and play the back row to add to her collection of digs. A solid year could make her the all-time leader dig leader. Hauck will compete for a starting setter position.
Now roaming the trenches in the front row will be Brittani Toole, a 5-11 middle hitter. Toole was an all-state selection and the East Texas Player of the Year in 2006.
Mallory Scott, a 6-0 outside hitter is also expected to kill a few shots from the front row.
Scott was an all-state player both her senior and junior years.
Competing with Hauck will be two other setters — Jordan Briggs of Maypearl and Rachel Brown of New Braunfels.
Briggs versatility will come in handy as she not only sets, but also can play three other positions. Brown played on the 2005 4A State Championship team.
Ami deFreites completes the recruiting season as a 5-9-outside/opposite hitter from Red Oak.
With confidence in the talent on his roster and with past success in their back pocket, Moore has increased the difficulty of their schedule and has set the Lady Lions goals on increasing their 21-win total from last year.
However their eyes are not just on making the conference tournament for a seventh consecutive time, but on a conference title.
The opportunity to improve on past success begins with a tournament in Plainview at Wayland Baptist University on Aug. 30.
This was the same place where the Lady Lions opened their 2006 season and they did so with four wins. They only hope that history repeats, and improves on itself.