in Volleyball

With Holzmann returning as volleyball head coach at Clifton, Lady Cubs hold high hopes of being led back to the Class 3A postseason promised land

CLIFTON – By qualifying for the 2022 Class 3A state volleyball playoffs as the fourth seed out of District 17-3A, the Clifton Lady Cubs made their second straight trip to the postseason after sitting out of the big show for six consecutive seasons.

With veteran head coach Joy Holzmann returning to Clifton to lead the way this season, the Lady Cubs took to the court for their first practice Monday aiming to make the playoffs for the third straight year.

“I am really excited about this team,” said Holzmann, who coached in Clifton for 11 years after playing collegiate volleyball and graduating from Midwestern State University. “We have several seasoned players that we will rely on for their maturity and experience. Our team also has a few very young players that we are looking forward to watching them grow and mature.

“My expectations are always high for my teams. We expect to make the playoffs for the third year in a row, and also hope to surprise some people.”

Despite losing Carley and Camryn Caniford to graduation, the Lady Cubs will be led by four returning senior starters, Laylah Gaona and Sydney Fullerton, who were named to the all-District 17-3A first-team last season. Fullerton paced Clifton with 363 assists last season, while Gaona provided a team-high 313 digs. Two all-district honorable mention selections – seniors Brianna Gonzalez and Kate Humphreys, as well as juniors Camryn Ritz and Camy Barsh will also return with varsity experience.

“We will rely on them for leadership and look for them to lead the team with their varsity experience,” Holzmann said. “Early in the season, we will focus on solidifying our team unity. We will work hard on doing the small things correctly early on, so that we can continue to improve as the season progresses.”

After working on conditioning and skills for three days, the Lady Cubs will put things together on Thursday before playing in a four-team, round robin scrimmage in Cleburne on Friday beginning at 9 a.m. Following three-team scrimmage with Robinson and Hamilton at home Saturday, the Lady Cubs will open the regular season on the road at Teague Aug. 8 at 7 p.m.

Growing up in West and playing volleyball for the Lady Trojans, Holzmann went on the play volleyball at Midwestern State before embarking on her coaching career. During her 11 years in Clifton, Holzmann led the Lady Cubs to district championships, qualified for the Regional Tournament several times, and advanced to the State Volleyball Tournament.

But after getting married earlier this year, Holzmann and her husband made the move back to Central Texas.

“My husband is also from West,” said Holzmann, who spent the last 14 years coaching at Irving Nimitz High School. “We wanted to be closer to home, and near our friends and family. I also loved my time in Clifton earlier in my career, and knew that this would be a great time to move.”


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