Lady Wildcats search for return to playoffs

August 10, 2007
By Cory J. Mageors, Staff Writer

PLANO - For this entire season, one thing will be on every spectator’s mind at Plano Senior volleyball matches: how is the new coach going to work with this team?

As Jennifer Cron, who takes over for Rhonda Rust, leads the Lady Wildcats program in her first season, she collects a team with six seniors who she hopes can take the reigns. But in the process a new relationship must be forged before they can start winning together.

“It’s always difficult coming in as a new person,” Cron said. “They had their way of doing things already and I have my way of doing things. But we have had a good enough relationship so far in that if I see something I want them to do, I let them know and they make the adjustment.”

And for any relationship to work, both sides must reciprocate a common goal to attain. For the moment, it appears at least one accomplishment is on the collective mind of the Lady Wildcats.

“We just want to go out and win,” said Mary Elizabeth Hooper, Plano senior. “Obviously we want to make it to the playoffs since we didn’t make it last year. But I think we just want to get out there and start playing and start winning.”

In an effort to not instantly burn bridges with the players, Cron tried to come in with an open mind about each individual player.

Having only hearsay and paper statistics to go on, the former North Garland head coach and Arlington assistant wanted to actually see her players on the court without any preconceived judgment.

After seeing her team through tryouts and their first week of practice, Cron has spotted a few things she likes.

“The best thing about this team is they work as hard as they do,” Cron said. “They are willing to make the extra effort, and as a coach you couldn’t ask for anything more than for them to work hard and have good focus all season.”

After a full week of practice, Cron expects her team to be in solid playing shape, capable of withstanding an entire season of play. As the players roll into the season, they hope to be able to take advantage of the things they do well.

With good fluent movement on the court and knowledge of the big picture, they should be able to make up for any department that seems to be lacking.

“We don’t have the height some other teams have,” said Lesley Mirarchi, Plano senior. “So we have been working on where to place the ball. We have also been working on all aspects of where we need to be on the floor.”

Senior Christina Krone also points out their coach’s commitment to being solid on defense no matter how powerful an offense can be.

“Offensive is important,” Krone said. “But it’s defense that wins championships. It’s all about who can keep the ball up. We are training our bodies and minds to be in the right spot at all times.”

After tryouts, Cron added freshmen, Maddy Haas and Taylor Story, to the squad. Cron hopes the two girls’ enthusiasm will bring a refreshing energy to the team as well as their constant uphill battle to play on the same level as the seniors.

“During tryouts they showed they could do the work,” Cron said. “They showed a lot of ball control and both have proven they can play at this level.”

As for a prediction on how the Lady Wildcats will fare this season, Cron is hesitant to make any proclamations. Having not seen her team play against anybody else, she feels it wouldn’t be fair to judge the players ability yet. Also not knowing the capabilities of teams such as Allen, Plano East and Plano West, Cron feels she has to simply worry about what her team is doing.

Expectations will be high for Plano; because while the Lady Wildcats missed the playoffs in 2006, they were co-district champions and regional finalists in 2005.

But from the players’ perspective, they already have a vision. It includes winning. It includes beating West and it includes winning district. And they believe they are capable of doing so.

“This season is about domination,” said Danielle Caldwell, senior. “We are going to be the”

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