By Stafford MSD Communication
The most important word for the 2017 Stafford High volleyball team is continuity.
The Lady Spartans return six players, and Ivana Ellas was promoted in July from junior varsity to varsity head coach. Stafford has been competitive in a very challenging District 4A-25. The Lady Spartans reached the playoffs in 2015 and missed it by one game last season.
“Our goal is a return trip to the playoffs,” Ellas said. “We’ll need discipline and positive attitudes in the matches and in practice. The team has to believe in themselves. We’re teaching our players to battle back in the matches when it seems like it’s not going their way.”
Ellas, who recently celebrated her 28th birthday, also served as the varsity assistant to Melissa Hoffmann, who accepted the girls cross country/track position at Katy Morton Ranch in the spring after four seasons at Stafford.
“The program grew while she was here, and we know it will continue to grow,” Ellas said. “I learned a lot about new drills and planning practices from coach Hoffmann.”
The Lady Spartans graduated seniors Chloe Scrutchin, Brenda Imarenezor and Cheyenne Hill-Johnson. They’ll return four seniors – middle hitter Talya Monroe, right side Asia Morris, back row Tiana Elepano and libero Alliyah Williams.
Junior outside hitter Dasia Smith and sophomore outside hitter Alexis Williams also return.
Ellas said some players will be promoted from last year’s JV and freshman teams, but at press time, the team was still hosting tryouts.
Once again, Stafford will have a challenging non-district schedule, including the home opener on Aug. 15 vs. 5A Rosenberg Terry.
“I think our non-district schedule will prepare us for district,” Ellas said.
They’ll compete in the Dickinson Tournament, Aug. 17-19 and host the Stafford Tournament, Sept. 7-9. Last season, the Lady Spartans finished second in the 16-team Stafford Tournament.
The district opener will be played on Sept. 19 at Needville.
Mark Spivey will serve as the team’s JV coach, and Emily Pewitt will coach the freshman team.