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Saturday, August 18, 2012Prep Volleyball: Findlay seeks return trip to state
Bob Moran finds himself in a bit of a quandary entering his third season as Findlay High's head volleyball a coach.
On one hand, he wants his high-flying Trojans getting up at the net for every spike, block and stuff they can get.
And yet, he hopes his highly-touted team can keep its feet collectively planted on the ground.
"The mental part of it is the biggest challenge for us right now," Moran said. "We spent 15 minutes today just talking about staying grounded and being focused, about working hard and being intense in practice.
"One of the words we used was 'cruise.' We don't want to put it on cruise control.
"Last year there were games we were predicted to lose, and we beat those teams because they knew nothing about us. Now we're on the map. We're not going to surprise anybody."
The quandary Moran finds himself in is an envious one.
After three straight losses in the regional semifinals, Findlay finally broke through last season, winning the championship of the Hilliard Davidson Regional and earning the school's first-ever trip to the state volleyball tournament.
Findlay graduated only two players from that team. And with 10 seniors on the roster, nine of them with state tournament experience, expectations are running high for a program that has had six 20-win seasons in the past nine years.
"I don't know if we feel the pressure so much, but we know it's there," said Kayce Krucki, a two-time all-Ohio standout for the Trojans.
"We went to state last year. We want to do it again. But we try to take it one day at a time and work hard because we know nothing is going to be given to us."
"We know there's a huge target on our backs, but we look at that as a challenge," said Allison Twining, who had a team-high nine kills in Findlay's state semifinal match against Cincinnati Mt. Notre Dame.
"We had a taste of state as juniors. This is our last season and we want to make the best of it, so we have that motivation, too."
Findlay graduated two defensive specialists in Lainy Foltz (76-76 passing, 198 digs, 281-311 serve receptions) and Erin Gilbert (40-43 serving, 11 aces).
But everyone else is back, including Krucki, who led the team with 335 kills and 265 digs and was 263 for 277 serving with 44 aces, and Twining, a 6-foot honorable mention all-Ohio selection who had 197 kills and a team-high 45 solo blocks.
Emma Schleucher, who was third on the team with 183 kills and led the Trojans in serving (365-386, 57 aces) also returns, along with Bria Bronston, another 6-footer who had 180 kills and 31 solo blocks, junior Ciara Ralston (86 kills) and senior Nicole Muehl (71 kills, 44 digs).
Moran also welcomes back his floor leaders and top setters in seniors Emily Lauth and Abby Stine. Lauth was 1,291 of 1,354 setting with 603 assists; 347 for 375 setting with 54 aces; and had 105 digs. Stine was 453 for 472 setting with 208 assists; 274 for 296 serving with 33 aces; and had 191 digs.
Findlay also returns seniors Brittanne Burnside (106 digs), Melissa Dysinger and Audrey Oyer. Anna Schumm, a 5-10 sophomore who saw some varsity playing time last season, rounds out the roster.
"The really nice thing about this group is that they are very unselfish," Moran said. "They don't care who leads in kills or aces or serves or assists. The bottom line is they just want to win, and they've worked hard all summer on conditioning and in the weight room.
"This is one of the hardest working groups I've had as far as putting in the extra work."
Moran, 43-11 at Findlay and 219-99 in his coaching career, will be counting on the work ethic and experience of his senior veterans this season. He speaks from experience when he says there are no sure-fire guarantees.
"I've been coaching varsity since '99 and I've seen teams go down there (to state) and, you know, be loaded like we are and not go back the next year," he said.
"It's tough to do it twice. There is always a team that gets hot, a team that peaks at the right time, a team that might have 10 losses but gets on a roll.
"Last year we were that team. People didn't think we'd get through the sectional, because Bowling Green had already beaten us. Both teams we faced in the regional were predicted to beat us.
2012 FHS Volleyball Schedule
Aug. 29 -- at Lima Shawnee 7 p.m.
Aug. 30 -- at Lima Senior (TRAC) 6 p.m.
Sept. 1 -- at Huron 6 p.m.
Sept. 6 -- at Tol. Notre Dame (TRAC) 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 8 -- BG & Mans. Madison 1 p.m.
Sept. 11 -- Defiance 6 p.m.
Sept. 13 -- at Toledo St. Ursula (TRAC) 6 p.m.
Sept. 15 -- at Huber Heights Wayne noon
Sept. 17 -- Tol. Central Catholic (TRAC) 6 p.m.
Sept. 20 -- Toledo Whitmer (TRAC) 6 p.m.
Sept. 22 -- at Mother of Mercy Tour. 9 a.m.
Sept. 23 -- at Mother of Mercy Tour. TBA
Sept. 25 -- Norwalk 6 p.m.
Sept. 27 -- Oregon Clay (TRAC) 6 p.m.
Oct. 1 -- at Fremont Ross (TRAC)
Oct. 3 -- Norwalk St. Paul
Oct. 4 -- TRAC Tournament
Oct. 8 -- TRAC Tournament
Oct. 10 -- TRAC Tournament
Oct. 11 -- TRAC Tournament
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