After going 19-8 overall, and winning the West Sequoia League Championship (9-1) last season for the fifth consecutive year, the Minarets volleyball team and coach Jessica Carter are working hard to extend the championship streak to six this year.
The team will be lead by last year’s team captain and Most Valuable Player in the WSL from last year, Carlee Boomer, and all-league heavy hitter Hallie Grant.
Carter has an experienced team this year with six seniors returning from last year’s team, along with six juniors, and one sophomore. Fowler looks to be the only team that could stand between the Mustangs and another WSL title, as the Red Cats have an experienced team, flush with seniors.
“Carlee is my captain and leads by example ... she’s a fantastic player,” Carter said. “The team works so well together, I have some heavy hitters - Trish Thomasian in the back row, and Julie Castleman is a force offensively and defensively. Mia Corripo is working into her own on the right side, Sammy Grant is also learning a new position on the right side. I have a senior and junior setter, so we have a lot of potential ... that’s one of the reasons I’m so hard on them.”
Last week the Mustangs beat Chowchilla in three sets (25-22, 25-22, 25-19).
“It was close ... Chowchilla is a good team,” Carter said. “I was super proud of my girls ... offensively they were hitting well. We have a lot of work to do on our blocking on defense, but we'll get there.”
The team also played in a tournament last week at Hoover, winning five of six games.
“We lost to a D-II school, obviously due to our own errors,” Carter said. “If we limit those errors, we are going to be unstoppable.”
The Mustangs, a D-V team, will take part in two more tournaments before league play begins, the Madera South tourney, made up of primarily D-I and D-II teams, as well as the Hoover Tournament with D-II and D-III teams.
“You always want to push yourself,” Carter said. “I don’t ever want our team to play against teams that aren’t at our skill level.”
The Mustangs have done a great job of peppering the varsity squad with younger talent, gaining experience at the higher level. Last years team lost to Dos Palos in the playoffs, Dos Palos lost to Fowler, (a team the Mustangs split the season series with), Fowler went on to play in the Section Championship against Kingsburg. This Mustang team is more than capable of returning to the CIF D-V Sectional Championships.
The Mustangs played Sierra Tuesday night, Yosemite last night (Wednesday), and Farmersville tonight (Thursday).