Vernon, Texas -
When putting a schedule together coaches have to make some difficult choices. Do you schedule opponents you should be able to beat easily to boost your team's confidence? Or do you put together a tougher schedule to make sure your team is battle tested come the end of the season. Well for Vernon Head Volleyball Coach Cole Tallman the answer is simple. If you want to be the best you have to play the best, "the reason that we'll always have a tough schedule is that if you want to be one of the best teams you have to play the best teams. We'll do that any place any time anywhere. It helps us get better and eventually you become one of those best teams."
At this point in the season the Vernon College volleyball team's record may be 3-and-5, but the bulk of the Lady Chaps losses have come to ranked teams. And freshman Labero Ciandra Seabourn says the Lady Chaps are heading in the right direction, "we showed a lot playing those ranked teams. I feel like we played well. We didn't beat them but we played really well against them and they're a lot tougher than people in our conference so I think we'll do well in conference."
Ciandra Seabourn is a big reason that the Lady Chaparralls are excited to look toward the future. Seabourn is currently second in the nation in total digs, and fourth in the nation in digs per set. Vernon College setter Tina Lopez says Seabourn is a big asset, "She's just a real good fighter. She never wants a ball to drop. And that drive will help us get through any game." And setter Brittany Land agrees, "She's amazing. She gets to balls that i never thought she could get to. She's really stepped up."
Tallman, a veteran coach also says Seabourn is an unusual talent, "I've never seen such level of talent, potential, and accountability for outcome. She put up over 30 digs against the number 6 team in the nation with All American candidates all over the place and didn't blink an eye about it."
The Lady Chaps biggest offensive weapon though is Serbian outside hitter Kristina Rankovic. The sophomore hitter leads the nation in overall kills and kills per set. Kristina saying this year's squad has what it takes to grab another conference championship, "We already know about the teams in our conference. We just have to practice hard and play hard. If we do that we can win the conference."
And new this year for the Lady Chaps is freshman middle blocker Lauren Power. Power 3rd in the nation with 1.56 blocks per set. Tallman saying her progress is amazing given she plays the toughest position on the court, "She has to close blocks and set that up on a thirty foot net. From left to right to middle every single time, every single play, and she is a natural for it."
And even after a dominant straight set victory on Saturday, the Lady Chaps are hungry for more. When asked if they feel they're getting closer to reaching their potential. "I think yes in a way but we're just getting started."