Second-year coach has pieces to make a run
CROSBY — Marissa Simmons wants to create a consistent winner at her alma mater Crosby High School.
The second-year head coach is the first in her position over the past few years that has returned after year one and hopes to take the Lady Cougars even further than its 22-8 overall and 9-5 district finish of a year ago.
The Lady Cougars finished third in District 22-5A and were eliminated in bi-district playoff action, losing to Port Neches-Groves in four sets.
To go further in 2019, Simmons will need to blend some veteran savvy with a bevy of young talent.
So far things seem to be working.
“I think we are in a good place,” Simmons said. “Everyone is in a place of positivity and mental toughness to an extent but not at our goal. I believe that we are starting at a very good level though and I believe this will be an amazing season.”
She will have plenty of weapons back in the fold as MB Charde Vanzandt, S Jenna Johnson, DS Elizabeth Siemek and OS Alyssa Davis all bring plenty of experience to combine with the youngsters.
Sophomore MB/OH Karsyn Shaver is one of the younger players expecting to contribute.
“I am excited because we play really well together and communicate,” she said. “We pick each other up when we mess up.”
Shaver also notes that physically, the Lady Cougars are making strides.
“We have pretty good blocking and hitting,” Shaver said. “Our passing was pretty good this summer so they could set up our hitters.”
Senior MB Paige Valt said the team’s defense was key with a lot of touches at the net, allowing the back row to keep balls in play and Crosby in system.
“It depends on how well we are set up, but we try to get a lot of touches,” Valt said. “For the most part we are trying to terminate, but if it’s hard to get good blocks on them, we will try to get a touch – that’s our minimum.”
District play will once again be a gauntlet as defending champions Friendswood will try to go unbeaten again after last year’s Region 3 final appearance and Santa Fe, who made the regional quarterfinal round could again be scary.
Throw in improving Goose Creek Memorial and Crosby will need to incorporate that blend of young and old faster than normal.
“I believe the key for us to clinch a playoff spot will be to keep consistency,” Simmons said. “I also believe that keeping a strong and steady growth of confidence and mental toughness will be crucial to our success.
“I think our district will have some great battles this year. There are a lot of good teams and I’m looking forward to the rivalries.”
Crosby starts its campaign 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at home against Angleton.