By Bill Spinks


wspinks@waxahachietx.com


Following in the footsteps of last year’s senior leadership, a new crop of Waxahachie Lady Indian volleyball stars is poised to lead the way in a 2020 season that was delayed but not denied.


The Lady Indians are set to begin the new campaign on Tuesday in a home dual match against Red Oak and Granbury. The fall seasons for Class 6A and 5A schools were pushed back five weeks by the University Interscholastic League in July in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Senior captains Kate Morgan, Linzie McCloud and Emma Smithey and junior captain Jh’Kyah Head are prepared to pace the Lady Indians toward a third-straight district title, after two district championships in two years at the highest level of competition in the state.


Head coach Sandy Faussett-Stoops, who won her 800th career match early last season, is beginning her 20th season at the school and her 33rd season overall.


The Lady Indians last year finished 39-13 and won a share of the 7-6A championship after winning it outright in 2018, their first season of competition in 6A. WHS advanced to the second round of the 6A Region I playoffs, but ran quickly into eventual 6A state champion Trophy Club Byron Nelson.


Among the leading returnees is Morgan, a first-team all-District 7-6A selection at outside hitter who was second on the team in kills and serve receive. Smithey, who announced in May her verbal commitment to play volleyball at Colorado School of Mines, and Head were both voted second-team all-District 7-6A by district coaches at the end of last season; and Smithey and McCloud were also chosen to the 7-6A academic team.


Senior Avery Long returns as a defensive specialist with starting experience. Other up-and-coming players to watch are senior middle blocker Briuna Harper, junior defensive specialist/outside hitter Brooklyn Baskin, sophomore setters Taylor Cavazos and Madi Fuller, and freshman middle blocker Tionna Owens.


The UIL forbade tournaments this season because of the pandemic, but WHS will get in a number of dual matches in a condensed pre-district schedule — and even a four-way match next Saturday with Frisco, Red Oak and new school Prosper Rock Hill at Prosper.


District 11-6A play will begin on Sept. 29 at Waco High.