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Young Mustangs stepping up

By Kelly McHugh

The Rock Creek volleyball team is younger than most this season after graduating six seniors from a year ago.

Only three current players saw regular varsity time last year. But despite the inexperience going into the 2012 season, the Mustangs are working hard and ready to step up.

“I feel we’re off a to much better start than I had anticipated,” said Rock Creek head coach Terry Schmitz, who is in his 16th year with the program. “We had a lot of spots to fill, a lot of question marks, and we weren’t sure on some of those spots, but we had some younger ones stepping up, coming in from B rolls.

“We have a freshman that’s seeing some varsity time, and a couple sophomores that are seeing some time as well.”

Schmitz said he wants to see growth from his young team after starting the season 5-4.

“Our main goal to improve every night from now out, to keep getting better,” he said. “I told the girls at that first tournament that they showed me a lot of potential.

“I think we can make some noise toward the end of the season and the postseason if we continue to improve. They have some potential to surprise some teams at the end of the year.”

Senior Megan Srna is a leader to teammates on and off the court. She’s been playing volleyball for eight years, but also plays basketball for the Mustangs and was a part of the 2012 Rock Creek High softball team that placed second at state last spring.

“I think we’ll be pretty good this year,” Srna said, after finishing practice earlier this week. “We started out a little rough, but usually we get better and better. So, I think by the end, we’ll have a pretty good chance and I think it’ll be a good season.”

Schmitz said Srna — an outside and setter — does a great job leading by example.

“She’ll work hard on the court and she’s not afraid to get on the floor and make that play,” he said. “She competes hard. Some of the younger kids are stepping up as well, but we’re looking to Megan a lot.”

The challenge for a young team is being able to find that improvement against the always-tough Mid-East League night in and night out.

“We have a very competitive league,” Schmitz said. “Every time you play a league competition it’s a rivalry.”

With that, Schmitz said Silver Lake will pose one of the Mustangs’ toughest challenges, as he said they have the potential to be a state contender. The Mustangs lost to another rival,  Riley County, last Thursday.

The Mustangs hit the court again tonight when they travel to Mission Valley to play Osage City and Wabaunsee beginning at 5 p.m.

“They’re an exciting group to watch,” Schmitz said, “so if you get a chance, come out and see us. They will play hard and work on the defense — they’re going to keep fighting. They’re an exciting group to watch and, like I said, they’ve got some potential. When they get rolling, they play some good volleyball.”

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