By TONY EIERDAM
After losing 11 seniors to graduation on last year’s area championship team, Mineral Wells Lady Rams head volleyball coach Taylor Eggleston knew she would be in a rebuilding year as she had to replace five of six starters for the 2013 season.
Add to that the lone returning starter, all-district senior libero Bethany Allen, was moved from the back row to hitter as she played “all the way around” this season.
The Lady Rams struggled early with a tough non-district schedule and finished in fourth place in District 6-3A with a 5-5 record. The mark tied the Lady Rams with Lake Worth for third place.
Since the Lady Rams and Lake Worth split a pair of district games a tiebreaker match was played to determine the third and fourth seeds of the district.
Lake Worth won in four games as MWHS entered the playoffs as the fourth seed. The Lady Rams fell in three games to state-ranked No. 11 Iowa Park in the first round of the playoffs.
Although the young MWHS team did not advance as far as last year’s squad, it has established a program and was the first Lady Rams volleyball team to appear in the playoffs in back to back seasons. In the four years Eggleston has been head coach, the Lady Rams have qualified for the playoffs in three of those years.
“It was encouraging to make the playoffs after losing so many starters and seniors from last year,” Eggleston said. “It was a boost of confidence for the kids who are coming back.
“Next year we will have a set of kids with playing time under their belts, whether it be a lot or a little. I was satisfied with some of the improvements that were made throughout the season – individually and as a team – and I thought the kids adjusted to the things we had to do such as moving BB (Allen) to hitter.