Rhett Robinson felt bad for having lowered her expectations coming into the 2017 season. Sure, Krum was coming off its second straight region tournament appearance and Robinson was nearing the top of her game. But she was the Lady Bobcats' lone returning upperclassman.
All signs pointed to a rebuilding year.
"I knew we had girls coming, but I didn't even know who our setters would be," Robinson said.
As it turned out, those younger players were pretty good, and the result was a stellar year for Robinson. The North Texas signee guided the Lady Cats to 37 wins, their first district title and a spot in a Class 4A region final. The 6-foot senior earned numerous honors and was a unanimous selection as MVP of the Denton Record-Chronicle's All-Area Volleyball Team.
"The first thing I thought of was all the people in the past who won this MVP award," said Robinson, a middle blocker and outside hitter. "Last year was [Argyle's] Halee Van Poppel, so knowing how good she was made me realize, 'Hey, that's me now.' It's a great feeling.
"I'm proud of this team, and how far I came. Coming from a skinny freshman to now is cool."
Robinson's presence on the court was hard to ignore, and she became increasingly more difficult to defend as the season wore on. She finished with 805 kills, 173 blocks, 400 digs and 82 service aces. She was a Texas Girls Coaches Association all-state selection in November and was the only player from the Denton area to earn a district MVP award.
She's also the first volleyball player from Krum to win the DRC all-area MVP award.
And it's not like Robinson came out of nowhere for this one season. Even last year as a junior on a senior-heavy team, Robinson made an impact while leading her team with 377 kills and 146 blocks. She earned an offer from UNT as a sophomore.
"From the inside, it doesn't seem like it was just me," Robinson said. "It was this team, too. But I always tried to work hard, and I hope everyone remembers me as being someone they could look up to. My goal was to always be a good leader and role model.
"It feels great to have made a positive impact on this program."
STEVE GAMEL can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @NewspaperSteve.