The Denton Lady Broncos will head into the 2012 season with playoff experience and new opponents to contend with.
After falling to Dumas in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs last season, Denton will say goodbye to Ryan, as it moves to Class 5A, and will say hello to Guyer and Trophy Club Byron Nelson, which went 30-6 last season.
Denton head coach Danielle Silva said the team has its sights set on the District 5-4A crown after making a late surge last season.
“We want to win district,” Silva said. “We got third place last year and came out of nowhere. We were second to last and then all of a sudden we fought back and got third. I think it’s going to be challenging, but I really think that as long as we work hard that we can achieve it.”
The Lady Broncos also have their gaze on loftier goals, but Silva is keeping the team focused on the near future.
“Our motto this summer during our strength and conditioning camp was ‘state-bound,’ but right now we’ve just talked about winning district and going from there,” Silva said. “I know Byron Nelson is going to be really competitive and I know [Wichita Falls] Rider will be competitive. They [Rider] have a really good outside that we need to shut down. Guyer is coming down from 5A, so I’m interested to see what that will be like.”
With the start of school looming, the Lady Broncos have begun scrimmaging in preparation for their first game against the Calvary Lions on Tuesday.
“They have been chomping at the bit,” Silva said. “They are done with tryouts, done with two-a-days, they’re glad they made it and they are ready to get the season rolling. That’s what’s great about volleyball — you have tryouts and you literally hit the ground running. We have scrimmages coming up, so that’s where all the fine-tuning will happen.”
Silva has her team focusing on its preparation in practice as the foundation for success this season.
“I’ve really been drilling into them that what you do in practice is what you’re going to do in the game,” Silva said. “We’ve been working on our serves-receives. That’s something that we really have to work hard at and working on quicker drills so we can be ready.”
Denton had a strong turnout for tryouts, which forced Silva to rearrange her coaching staff to accommodate a second freshman team — something not all teams have the luxury of having.
The freshmen will benefit from the playing experience and have the opportunity to develop continuity with the coaching staff.
“I think we have really come together during tryouts,” Silva said. “We have seniors, but we still have a direction that we really need to lead the younger players. We need to lead the players who haven’t played at the varsity level before and haven’t played the quicker pace.”
Silva has confidence in her returning starters and upperclassmen, and with the influx of young talent, she thinks Denton is priming itself for success not just this year, but for several seasons to come.
“We have nine seniors on our roster and we have some good younger-classmen coming up,” Silva said. “Our strengths definitely lie in our outsides. We have very competitive outsides and we have quickness on our defense. We have a really good team this year.”
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.