By Bill McCaughey
For the Fort Bend Star
Travis volleyball coach Nicole Hitt believes her team has the talent to advance further in the playoffs this year.
“I expect Audrey Phillips to be a force for us this year. She was named to the Greater Houston Volleyball Coaches Association Fabulous 50 team this year. Audrey has good size and she can jump. Her shot selection is always good,” Hitt said.
Hitt also counts on Phillips to be a leader.
“I try to lead both by example and by being vocal,” Phillips said.
She used the summer to work on some phases of her game that she felt needed improvement.
“I wanted to prepare myself for the college level of volleyball,” Phillips said. “I love the intensity of volleyball. You have to go full speed every point.”
Phillips, a junior, hopes to play volleyball in college and while there pick up a degree in business.
“We also have returning starting middle blocker Lauren Clarke. She will really help lead the offense as well as put up a big block,” Hitt said. “Lauren is super athletic, and she can jump.”
Clarke can indeed jump, as she set the Travis triple jump record with a leap of 40 feet 0.5 inches last spring. She is also second on the Travis high jump all-time list with a jump of 5 feet 4 inches.
“Hannah Callison had a great club season and she is returning as another starter on the outside,” Hitt said. “She has good power.”
“I try to lead by example and encourage my teammates. To be our best, we need to believe and trust in each other,” Callison said.
She is a senior and despite missing some time with a back injury, was able to improve her overall game this summer.
“I am more confident and aggressive now,” Callison said.
Hitt will also look for good seasons from liberos Reagan Garza, a senior, and Tori Everson, a junior, and outside hitter Kennadie Sellers, a junior.
“My liberos are returning and that should give us solid serve receive and defense,” Hitt said. “We pulled up Kennadie Sellers from junior varsity at the end of last season and I think she will be a key player to step in as an outside hitter or defensive specialist.”
Hitt feels a good start in district play will be important.
“We will use the preseason to move players around, try different rotations,” Hitt said. “We need to find our weak spots and work on those.”
Travis finished fourth in District 20-6A last year with an 8-6 record. After nine matches this season, the Tigers are 4-5.