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Farmersville reloads for new volleyball season

by | Aug 5, 2023 | Sports

Farmersville has had a dominant program for several seasons, but 2023 has more questions than ever before.

With several graduating seniors moving on and Harold Davis stepping down as head coach, the team is taken over by head coach Arian May. She’s been an assistant at the program for several years now and was picked as Davis’ successor. As she enters year one at the head of the program, she’s hoping to keep the same trajectory the program was on before.

“Coach Davis has done a great job of building the program and having a lot of success,” May said. “I have a lot of expectations to keep the same success and set the high standards he had. I’m grateful to have him as a mentor for the last three years and I’ve learned a lot.”

Part of that is continuing the winning culture that has propelled Farmersville for so long. With three key players returning, and multiple players with varsity experience also in the mix, the Lady Farmers aim to hit the ground running in 2023 with the talent at their disposal. The key is going to be the disciplined approach that saw them a lot of success in the past.

“Our motto for the year is ‘Grit,’” May said. “We’re not only focusing on unity and playing together as a team but getting kids to buy in and be resilient on the court. We want the girls to find their passion on the court and that’s our expectation for the year to find success that way.”

That won’t come without challenges this season. After winning 43 games last year and reaching the regional semifinals, Farmersville graduates several seniors – namely starting middle blocker Angie Lee, libero Morgan Erwin and defensive specialist Mara Juntado. Those three players were integral fixtures to the Lady Farmers volleyball program for several years and key starters last season.

Lee was one of the top players in school history, winning district MVP and committing to LSU for this fall. She led the team with over 600 kills, 53 aces and 122 blocks last year, a major void in the middle both in attack and on defense at the net.

Along with Lee, Reagan Searson and Baylee Valliant also played on the front row and graduated following their senior years. Thankfully for the Lady Farmers, they have young players in the wings.

“Middle blocker is going to be hard to fill with Angie Lee’s shoes,” May said. “Thankfully, we have a young freshman in Peyton Percer we believe can be a really good player. It may take her some time to get used to the speed, but could surprise by midseason and be a fixture. She might be our most important player along with our three returners.”

Farmersville also has Cayla Huff, who returns this season from injury after missing last season and will fill in at middle as well. The key for her is to stay healthy, as Coach May is hoping to rely on her next season.

Still, Farmersville boasts plenty of talent, including returning starters Rendi Fetty, Sophia White and Bella Holland. All three players have the versatility to be six-rotation players next season, with Fetty finishing her junior year with over 300 digs and kills. The key for those three is leadership in 2023.

“We have to stay united and work hard together to be a really good defensive team,” May said. “Those three are getting an opportunity to lead and guide the new group of kids on the court.”

Fetty was named to the TGCA preseason all-star game for the Lady Farmers and will take on a greater offensive burden this year with Lee no longer in the middle.

“She’s grown tremendously as a leader and a person in this program,” May said. “It’s a big year for her and she’s been effective in almost every game she’s played for us. We need more of that from her this year, and probably some more which she is capable of.”

White was a newcomer on the team last year but hit the ground running with the Lady Farmers to win the district’s setter of the year award. Heading into her senior season, she’s also worked to be more of a leader on the team this season with experience and confidence.

“She has really molded into the program and bought in as well,” May said. “She’ll be the first to say she’s not as vocal of a leader as Rendi, but she leads by example. We’ll need that from her throughout the season as a strong presence on the court, and also helping our young setters behind prepare to step in next year.”

Holland is the youngest of the returning group, entering her junior year with the Lady Farmers. She played both front and back row last season as only a sophomore and showed her great potential on the court. This season, coach May expects her to play in multiple roles for the team as they find the right pieces for the upcoming season.

“She’s a six rotation player for us, but maybe stepping into a new role for us,” May said. “She’s a team player, but also an incredible athlete who can play almost anywhere and be successful.”

That versatility will be key for Farmersville next season with several new faces, as the team opens the season on the road on Tuesday, Aug. 8 at Bonham. The team’s first home game will be on Aug. 15 against Edgewood, as the team prepares for district play on Sep. 8 at home against Quinlan Ford.

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