The Northwest volleyball team is under new direction this coming season, and so far, expectations are pretty high.
The Lady Texans have missed the playoffs the last two seasons in a row, and incoming coach Jennifer Chandler is hoping to change all of that.
“We had a great offseason,” Chandler said. “The first thing we did was establish core values for our program which helped guide our level of expectation in all areas — practice and matches, classroom and community.”
Chandler comes to Northwest from Fossil Ridge High School and has also coached at Boswell and Mansfield Legacy High Schools, amassing a 244-166 (103-56) record.
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The Northwest coach said she expects a number of players serve important roles this season, but added that Camryn Berryhill will lead the charge for the Lady Texans.
“She is the most experienced player,” Chandler said. “This will be her fourth varsity season, and she is an aggressive attacker. She has really taken to heart our core values and has really impressed me with her intentional leadership and willingness to be the best player she can be.
“She also has such a caring heart and has worked to include our underclassman, as well as incoming freshmen so that they feel welcomed by our program.”
Chandler also expects big seasons from Bailey Cagle (Northwestern Oklahoma State), Oakley O’Dell, Lexi Ihrig and Analise Lucio.
Ihrig, whom Chandler describes as a “fierce competitor” and someone who “puts the team before herself,” said she is optimistic about the Lady Texans’ chances in the 2016 campaign.
“The season is shaping up well,” Ihrig said. “During the spring offseason, we all worked very hard and have developed a lot as a team. This summer, we have worked really hard and continue to get better as a team. We are excited for this upcoming season, and I’m excited for the team to accomplish big things this fall.”
Cagle, Northwest’s first college commitment, said that the objectives for the season mainly revolve around getting beyond district.
“Our overall goal is to make it playoffs,” Cagle said. “That being said, [we are] trying to strive for being district champs and potentially make it past the first round in playoffs. I think that if we keep improving and pushing through like we have been, we have a great chance of both [being] district champs and making it past the first round of the playoffs.”
Chandler said she believes that Aledo and Boswell will be the Lady Texans’ two toughest district opponents this season, and said to have a successful season in 2016, it will take two things.
“We will need to be intentional with our core values and then trust in our training when match day comes along,” Chandler said.