Since Emily Gorr began starting for Guyer toward the end of her sophomore season, she’s known what it’s meant to be a volleyball player at the relatively young high school.
Before that year, the Wildcats made their third straight trip to the postseason as a Class 4A program, but Gorr was greeted with the challenge of moving up to Class 5A in her first year as a varsity player.
Things didn’t go well.
Last year, under new head coach Addie Mack, the Lady Wildcats made strides in a tough 5A district and finished fifth — one spot out of the postseason picture.
Now, Gorr is ready for her chance to make a postseason appearance as the Lady Wildcats prepare to face a new set of teams, and challenges, as they return to Class 4A with the latest UIL realignment.
“We’re excited, but we know it’s [returning to 4A] no reason to let up,” Gorr said Monday as volleyball practice opened across the state. “We have work to do. We’re looking forward to getting to the playoffs and going far. I’m pretty sure they’re expecting us to let up since we’re coming down a [classification]. I think they think we think it’s easy and they’ll try to come at us, but we’re gonna hold our own.”
Naturally, the opening of practice brings uncertainty with just a week of workouts before the season gets under way at Colleyville Heritage on Tuesday.
But that’s definitely the case for the Lady Wildcats, who return five starters, including three seniors.
Those starters are Gorr, Kasey Nicholson, Sylvia Nwiba and juniors Sydney Reyes and Madison Walford.
They could have had six, but their force in the middle — 6-foot-1 Madeline Mayer — suffered a knee injury in February and had surgery before transferring to Calvary, where former Guyer coach Jennifer Bramlett is now the head coach.
Mack said she was sad to see Mayer leave, but she’s confident the program can recover with the help of some new faces, particularly incoming freshmen Emily Hill and Tabitha Spray.
“We found some good girls to take that place, and I think we can excel in that area, actually,” Mack said. “I hate that she left, but we had designed our program without her with her being hurt earlier in the year. I started designing the program without her just in case she wasn’t able to come back.”
With all that youth, Gorr said she and the rest of her experienced teammates will have to impose their will and work ethic on the younger girls.
“We really have to get the other girls on the same page and have the same mind-set,” Gorr said. “We want to win and we have to work hard to do that. It’s our time; it’s our senior year. We have to go get it this year.
“I really feel like we have a lot of that responsibility. I think the rest of the team relies on our energy every day out there.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .