Arnett McClure led the Panthers to a 12-9 record, including a 7-3 mark in its Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools District 1-2A, last year in his first season as the head volleyball coach at Abilene Christian Schools.
The Panthers won their first two playoff matches a year ago before being swept in three straight in the regional final by Ovilla Christian in Red Oak, which went on to win its third straight TAPPS 2A state championship.
The Panthers return three starters and six letter winners from last year’s squad, but Arnett admits that this year’s team doesn’t have “a ton of experience at the varsity level.”
“This year’s team will be a young team with a totally new makeup,” he said, “but we have big expectations for Hope Longley, Lindsey Blasingame, Lily Scherer and Campbell Beard. This team will have a very strong mindset.”
Blasingame is the team’s top returning leader in kills, while Scherer is the leader in digs coming back on the defensive end. Scherer had 123 digs to go along with an 88.5 serving percentage and 205 assists during the regular season. Blasingame had 69 kills and 39 assists, while Longley recorded 38 kills last year.
“Halle Wade, Ciara O’Neill, Sunny Seyda and Trinity Northcutt (who graduated last year) left a big hole in terms of leadership, work ethic and volleyball skill,” McClure stated. “They will be missed, but they left a good map to success for the players to follow.”