Gatesville junior middle blocker Kayla McGiboney is one of only two starters returning for the Lady Hornets volleyball team this season.

After losing five players to graduation, McGiboney, who started as a sophomore, inherited leadership positions both on and off the court, and thus far, she has thrived. The Lady Hornets are 17-14 overall and undefeated through the first two games of district.

There were lots of changes to the team during the offseason. How is the team gelling?

I think we are coming along pretty good. We had a rough start, and we weren’t all playing together as a team, but I think we got use to each other, so we are playing better.

What was that adjustment period like?

Like (head coach Rickey) Phillips said, we are not really remaking the team, we are just rebuilding. We’re not starting over, we are just rebuilding. It was hard to lose all of them, but we’ve come together.

What is it like to have an increased role?

It’s been fun. I feel like I’m under pressure sometimes, but as a team, we all play together well. Just being able to play, I feel blessed, but there is pressure.

Did you have to take on responsibilities as a leader with the departure of so many players?

Yes, but all of the returners are leading the team, and we all have to step up and be leaders like (all the players did) last year.

Is that a role you enjoy?

Sometimes. We are all friends, so it is kind of hard to get on to each other, but we all know what happens on the court stays on the court. Nothing from outside of school goes on to the court.

Is the team about where you expected it would be by this point in the season?

Yes. We still have a lot of things we need to work on and fix, but I feel we are in a good spot right now.

Contact Clay Whittington at

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