As Meridian volleyball program looks to return to Class 1A playoffs, young Lady Jackets aim to build on strides taken last season under Schur
MERIDIAN – Despite saying goodbye to six graduated players who played key roles in re-establishing the Meridian volleyball program in 2020, the Lady Jackets returned to the court for the first time Monday with high hopes for the 2023 Texas high school season.
With Meridian volleyball head coach Lyndsie Schur entering her second season at the helm, the Lady Jackets will have a wealth of talent and experience focused on returning to the Class 1A playoffs.
“I feel really good about the team that we have coming back,” Schur said. “My expectations of all of our girls are to get better every day.”
After advancing to the postseason as District 18-1A’s third place team, four Lady Jacket underclassmen were recognized for their efforts – seniors Canyon Stauffer, Hope Cabrera and Evelyn Dirkse along with junior Journey Stauffer – on the all-district, first-team, while Schur was named the district’s co-coach of the year. Canyon Stauffer was named the all-district setter of the year.
Other returning varsity players returning will be junior Mackenzie Borhofen, a second-team, all-district selection, and junior Mariana Paniagua, who drew honorable mention recognition.
“I will be relying greatly on our juniors and seniors to be our leaders this upcoming season,” Schur said. “I have six returning varsity girls, and they all have quality varsity minutes under their belts, which will help us greatly. We also have some freshmen and sophomores that could prove to be varsity players this season.”
After getting four days of practice in, the Lady Jackets will host Valley Mills for their first scrimmage this Friday with the junior varsity play at 1 p.m., followed by varsity at 2 p.m. Meridian players will take part in their annual Black vs. Gold scrimmage at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 7 in Yellowjacket Gymnasium before opening the regular season with a home match against Bruceville-Eddy Aug. 8.
“We will definitely be focusing on figuring out how to fit all the puzzle pieces together early in the season,” Schur said. “We will need to accomplish that to ensure that we are right where we need to be for district play, and then into playoffs.”
As the district’s setter of the year, Canyon Stauffer led the Lady Jackets with 84 assists and 17 digs, as well as a team-highs with 62 kills and 56 service aces. Cabrera provided 50 kills and nine blocks, Dirkse smashed 46 kills, served up 26 aces and contributed a team-high 13 blocks, while Journey Stauffer added 33 kills and 41 aces.
“Some people don’t get caught up in the awards, which isn’t a bad thing,” Schur said. “But for a new program, those awards might be the confidence that a kid needs to be that much better. I think that’s the case for my girls.”
Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS
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