By Tamas Mondovics
There is little doubt that the Durant High School Lady Cougars volleyball team is ready to turn in another solid winning season. To outdo the previous season’s success is not an easy task.
Of course, the question of whether the team, which will be sporting a strong senior starting lineup, is able to do even better this fall is not raised for the lack of talent or the need for better coaches as both categories are well covered.
The challenge for players and coaches is actually their own success and the fact that the winning program has always been a top contender.
The program, under the direction of Head Coach Brittany Wilson, and Junior Varsity Coach Amanda Beers, assisted this year by Coaches Javier Fortuno, and 2015 Durant graduate Jasmine Shamberger is everything the school, parents and volleyball could ask.
Last year, the girls dominated the district reaching the post season with an undefeated (6-0) record, ending with a 16-8 overall record, just two games short of a state appearance.
“We did great last year, but this is a new season and I am confident that we will do even better,” Wilson said.
Judging by the strong turnout for the 2016 fall season tryouts earlier this month, which saw more than 50 girls hoping to make the team, volleyball at Durant has never been better.
The Cougars are returning six seniors and plenty of great new young talent to fill its 15 varsity and 15 JV roster.
“We are like family here and these girls are just so special to me,” Wilson said as she spoke about her returning players who have been with her since their freshmen year. Wilson’s first season at Durant was 2011.
“They are not just leaders on the court, but also in the classroom,” Wilson said. “They work well together and are best friends, all of which are vital to the program’s success.”
Expectations are high for each player and, as excited as she is about the upcoming season, Wilson admitted that each year brings its own challenges.
“I like to win,” she said. “So, I put a lot of pressure on myself and in turn on the girls, but I love what I do, love the sport, and the girls love it as well.”
Durant faces a solid district with Bloomingdale as its top opponent, along with Strawberry Crest, Plant City, Lennard and Tampa Bay Tech.
Summing up what lay ahead for the team during the 2016 season, what it takes to win and what will carry the program as far as it will go this year, Coach Beers said, “We play with our hearts; Its the Cougars way.”
For more information about the Lady Cougars upcoming season, visit www.maxpreps.com.