After last season, there is one more thing you can call the Shoemaker Lady Grey Wolves volleyball team: winners.
Shoemaker posted the first winning season since the school opened in 2000 last season and now looks to take the next step in the program’s progression.
“Our goal is to put a banner up there,” senior setter Gabriela Sierra said while pointing to the gym rafters. “Make it the best season we’ve ever had at Shoemaker. Make it better than the one last year.”
Shoemaker finished 20-19 last season, including a 4-10 mark in District 8-5A, and looks to contend for a playoff spot this season.
It may have been one game over .500, but that one win appeared to change the impression of Shoemaker’s program.
Head coach Merdith Shaw-Moore estimated that during the first days of practice and tryouts last week, there were between 60 and 80 girls vying for one of 15 spots on each of the varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams.
“I’ve been excited since the season ended last year,” Shaw-Moore said.
The Lady Wolves missed a postseason spot by four games after Belton earned the fourth and final playoff spot out of the district.
Senior middle hitter Briana McCutcheon said the extra experience gained playing club volleyball made her a more skilled player and hopefully will make a difference for the Lady Wolves this fall.
“This year we have so much to prove, so the quicker we can play, the better,” McCutcheon said.
Shaw-Moore said that the 2013 season did teach the players that hard work can pay off, but it appears that complacency did not set in during the offseason.
“I’m excited about the girls I do have returning,” Shaw-Moore said. “They came in with one mindset and they all came up to me and said ‘Coach, we’ve got one goal, one dream.’ They’re focusing their goal this year to try and change things around here at Shoemaker and hopefully put a banner up in this gym.”
The Lady Wolves do have a couple of spots to fill with the graduation of Coastal Bend College commit Aria Price as well as all-district first-teamer Anessa Pitts and honorable mentions Trinity Person and Chelyiss Pierce.
“We had a lot of good seniors,” Tyriete Dixon said. “I feel like a lot of the incoming seniors can really fill the spots and do well with the seniors we have this year, along with the juniors and sophomores.”
The Lady Wolves do have a strong group of experienced players coming back and ready to fill that void.
Bianca Delgado was an all-district second-team selection as a sophomore, Sierra was also a second-teamer as a junior and Shadavia Blakemore earned honorable mention as a sophomore in 2013.
“I think we did pretty well,” Delgado said. “I learned to work hard and never give up.”