The past 12 months included highs and lows, such as head coach Teri Larson’s 500th career win and then the death of Shelley Poynter, assistant volleyball coach and Maize South teacher, who battled cancer.
McKenna Poynter and Jody Larson, the head coach’s daughter, were named to the first team of the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League’s Division IV squad last season. They bring valuable experience since both became starters when they were freshmen.
Larson was honored as the Division IV most valuable player and her mother was co-coach of the year in 2011. Jody Larson, a 6-1 setter and outside hitter, also appeared on the all-state first team for Class 4A. She led the Mavericks in aces, kills and passing percentage last season. She has verbally committed to the University of Oklahoma.
The other returning starters are junior Kelsey Sterneker, a 6-foot middle hitter, and junior Macy Allred, a 5-7 outside hitter.
“She has played DS the last two years and will be expected to play all the way around,” Teri Larson said of Allred.
Other Maize South athletes who are expected to contribute include senior Kaitlyn Pracht, a 5-2 setter; senior Ashley Sayre, a 5-2 setter/defensive specialist; senior Katie Johnston, a 5-7 outside hitter; junior Emily Keller, a 5-7 right side; sophomore Megan Looper, a 5-7 defensive specialist; sophomore Madison Obermeyer, a 5-8 right side; and Cailea Gibbs, a 5-10 middle hitter.
The Mavericks finished 38-4 last year. Their season opener will be Saturday, Aug. 25, at the AVCTL preseason tournament in Hutchinson.
Teri Larson said the team’s goals were to have no regrets at the end of practices, matches, tournaments “or just the end of the day.” Another goal is to reach the state tournament regardless of whether Maize South is classified as a 4A or 5A school.
Larson is starting her fourth season as head coach at Maize South. She coached at Maize High School from 1990 to 2008.