There's never a sure thing when it comes to sports. Injuries, chemistry, and adversity always have a say in whether a team has an average, good, or great season. On paper, Hamshire-Fannett Volleyball is primed for a great season and a solid playoff run come late October.
The Lady Longhorns return a solid core of five players from a 2018 team that won their district title and made it to the third round of the UIL 4A playoffs.
By all accounts 2019 is their season.
Led by top players Callee Carter (MB), Shawnee Craigen (OH), Robyn Sewell (S), Lilly Sims (S), and all around player Raynee Baker, head coach Nicole Parrish has set the bar high for their season standards.
"We lost 8 seniors from last years' squad, but we have a strong group of talent that are coming up, we're excited about what they can do for this season," said Parrish.
"We decided to play in the Woodville tournament to play against teams our size, we wanted to see where we were against good competition. We wanted to see where we're at coming into district play."
With so many talented players coming back and replacing the graduated seniors, Hamshire-Fannett is not taking competition lightly in District 22-4A.
"The best thing these players bring is experience," said Parrish.
"Being part of the varsity experience and helping the younger players coming up through the system, knowing the standards and expectations we expect. Just because you may not have played varsity there is still a level of play we expect."
The Lady Longhorns are coming off a tough third round playoff loss last season to Hargrave that will motivate the dynamic squad. Pushing towards the regional tournament and ultimately a state tournament appearance is the ultimate goal.
"I've seen great leadership so far," said Parrish.
"We had a good season last year, but what does it take now to make it great. We don't want to be stagnant and just be happy to make the playoffs."
The district season begins September 10 at Bridge City but the campaign will come down to the final ten days as Hamshire-Fannett will have to prove their championship pedigree versus Silsbee (October 15), at Hardin-Jefferson (October 18), LCM (October 22) and at Lumberton (October 22).
Parrish will be pushing her players to be the best they can be.
"We want to further our season from last years run. I expect us to be a great team this season."
VYPE PODCAST with Hamshire-Fannett head coach Nicole Parrish
The late "Bum" Phillips once said after a tough playoff loss to the Pittsburg Steelers "this year we knocked on the door, next year we're gonna to kick it in". The Hamshire-Fannett Longhorns have the same feeling coming into the 2019 season after finishing fourth last year in District 10-4A.
H-F had two tough losses last season to intra-district rivals Liberty (35-38) and Silsbee (27-28) and even took district champion West Orange-Stark to the fourth quarter before losing 10-34. The Longhorns return 18 lettermen and seven starters on both sides of the ball, they are primed for a district title run.
"We bring a lot of depth this year," said second year coach Mark Waggoner.