“It was a tough loss,” Angie Corwine, West Franklin head volleyball coach, said. “State has always been the goal. We’ve just fallen short the past few years. We have a lot of great players who play a lot of volleyball in the offseason.”
Emily Reed, senior setter and outside hitter, returns after her all-state honorable mention campaign in 2012. She is joined by McKenzie Steele, senior outside hitter.
“Those two have been all-league and all-area since their freshman year,” Corwine, who enters her 13th year as head volleyball coach, said. “I’ve coached those two since they were 9 years old.”
Second-year starter Kati Aitchinson, senior right side hitter, and Brittany Crump, senior labero, join the quad of seniors returning on Corwine’s team. All-league player Bailey Whittington, junior right side hitter, and Aubry Flory, junior middle hitter, also return for this season.
“(Aubry) had a really good season last year,” Corwine said. “She is very athletic.”
The team lost Stephany Lord, who moved to Topeka. Lord would have been in the group of seniors returning.
“We are going to miss her, but we have a lot of good players this year,” Corwine said.
“I will be looking to Emily and McKenzie for a lot of leadership this season,” Corwine said. “The one thing we need to work on the most is our communication on the floor. That is the focus in practice right now.”
The team comes off a 27-10 year, where most of its losses came early, Corwine said. The Falcons placed second in their home tournament and won both the Wellsville tournament and the Flint Hills League tournament.
“We didn’t drop a set all day [at league],” Corwine said.
This season’s schedule hasn’t changed much, Corwine said, except the team will not play Sante Fe Trail as it did last year. Corwine said there is no lack of competition in the schedule.
“Wellsville is always a big rival, and we always play them tough,” Corwine said. “Mission Valley will be the team to beat in the league. Two years ago, we split league, and they bring back most of their players too.”
West Franklin volleyball begins its season at 5 p.m. Sept. 3 at home against Osage City.