After a 30-5 season last year and falling one game short of a D-IV Central Section title, losing to Sierra High, the Minarets Mustangs varsity volleyball team returns this season with its eye set on another West Sequoia League Championship.
Coach Jessica Carter begins her third year at Minarets after compiling an impressive 49-13 record in her first two seasons.
Although Carter lost six seniors from last year’s team to graduation, she has a strong group of returners this year including seniors Mia Corrippo, Kristy Berry, Makinley Wright, Katie Low and junior Julie Castleman.
Other seniors on the team include Annabelle Lowndes, Sophia Manning, Gina Smith, and Lauryn Clement. Completing the roster is junior Miranda Shockley.
“I lost six great players, and this year’s players have some big shoes to fill but they are putting in the work everyday to make it happen and I have a lot of confidence in this group,” Carter said. “We’ll have some challenges, but this season looks very promising.”
The Mustangs opened the season last week with two solid wins - a 3-1 road win over the Edison Tigers (14-25, 25-12, 25-18, 25-18) on Aug. 25, and a three-set victory at home over the D-II Roosevelt Rough Riders on Aug. 26 (25-21, 25-21, 25-16).
Carter named Castleman “player of the month” for her play in those two games.
“My five returners are expected to have a heavy impact this year,” Carter said. “It should be another fun and competitive season. I love working with this group because of their high energy, positive attitudes and diligent work ethics.”
The Mustangs will make the short trip to Chowchilla Sept. 1, and will play Yosemite Sept. 6, a game the Mustangs circled on the calendar weeks ago. Many of the Mustangs and Badgers grew up playing together on travel teams and now make up two of the best small school teams in the Central Valley.