Lady Wildcats: Ready For More

Lady Wildcats: Ready For More

by Steve Gamel

The Guyer volleyball team is used to being in a tough district. It doesn’t matter who they are lined up with; each week is guaranteed to be a dogfight. And not much will change this season as they find themselves pitted against the likes of Southlake Carroll and Byron Nelson. But if there’s any team that can compete on such a big stage – and win – it’s the Lady Wildcats. Coming off a stellar rebound season where it won 31 matches and made the playoffs after a one-year absence, Guyer is loaded with returning talent and appears to be one of the darlings of Class 6A volleyball. The only thing left is to go out there and prove last season wasn’t a fluke.

The team started its season on Aug. 7 and is quickly approaching district play. Their new District 5-6A includes Southlake, Byron Nelson, Keller, Keller Central, Keller Fossil Ridge, Keller Timber Creek, and Northwest Eaton.“We snuck up on a lot of people last year, and I hear it all the time from people who say that we weren’t supposed to have been that good and that we have some really good players,” Guyer head coach Heather Van Noy said. She is entering her second year with the program. “We may have surprised people then, but they know now.” She added, “It’s not going to be easy.”

Despite losing three Division I players – Kate Cowan (LSU), Angel Felan (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) and Mallory Pittman (Texas State) – to graduation, Van Noy has plenty of bullets in her proverbial chamber. That includes outside hitter Hailey Schneider, who recently committed to Arkansas, and middle blocker Rachel Tullos, who is committed to Arkansas State. The list goes on and on. Sophomore Jordyn Williams had 328 kills last year at middle blocker and is a highly-touted Division I prospect. Then there’s Shea and Brooke Slusser, who are primed for a huge season. Van Noy also pointed to players like Ciara Brown and Hope Kennedy.

“We have four starters back and another two who played a considerable amount of time on the court but may not have been considered starters. Either way, they’ve all made massive improvements,” Van Noy said. “They’ve been playing volleyball non-stop, and it’s my job to rally them together as a team and keep them healthy.”

For Guyer, it helps to have a coach like Van Noy pacing the sideline. The longtime Denton-area coach spent the first six seasons of her coaching career as an assistant at Guyer before taking over at Lake Dallas just down the road. She spent six seasons at Lake Dallas, compiling a 143-91 record while taking her team to the third round of the playoffs twice.She is quickly rebuilding a Guyer program that was in the third round of the playoffs just three seasons ago in the state’s largest classification before their down season in 2016.

Last year, they finished in a tie for second in district and lost in the first round to eventual state champion, Hebron. But Guyer was the only team on Hebron’s playoff schedule to win a set against them. Bottom line, this is a program that knows how to win, and Van Noy won’t hesitate to do what she needs to do to make her team successful. “This is definitely a salty group,” said Van Noy. “We have a chance to be really good.”

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