By Bill Spinks
Heritage High School’s volleyball team will have a new look after losing two graduates to Division I colleges and seven graduates in all. But the Jaguars are still looking forward to another good season in spite of COVID-19 precautions.
A new campaign begins this week for the Jaguars, who will start on time as a member of Class 4A. The University Interscholastic League last month staggered the fall schedule for sports, keeping small schools on schedule while pushing the start back by five weeks for Class 5A and 6A, which includes Midlothian High School.
The Jags had not yet publicly announced a schedule as of Monday. A number of area schools have postponed all extracurricular activities because of county-ordered shutdowns due to the pandemic, creating a large number of last-minute open dates.
However, Mabank ISD has confirmed that its volleyball team will host HHS on Friday night, with the varsity match set to start at 5 p.m. Likewise, a dual match at Terrell is on the schedule for Saturday that also involves Malakoff Cross Roads. Because of UIL-ordered COVID restrictions, there will be no regular-season tournaments.
HHS opens the 2020 volleyball season ranked No. 7 in the state in Class 4A by the Texas Girls Coaches Association. Last fall, the Jags won District 17-4A and made it all the way to the 4A Region III championship match, losing to Carthage in three hard-fought sets.
Moving on from last year’s squad were All-Ellis County performers Hanna Larson and Kelsey Carpenter, who signed national volleyball letters of intent with Texas A&M University and the University of Texas-San Antonio respectively.
Key returnees for 2020 include senior Elizabeth Schmidt, a member of the 2020 All-Ellis County team, as well as seniors Hayden Brunson and Zoe Isom and juniors Sydney Dickson, Kenlee Ponivas, Cayla Williams and Kensey Clifton.
Erika Weber, the 2020 All-Ellis County volleyball coach of the year, returns for her second season at HHS.
Weber, a Waxahachie native, was formerly an assistant coach at Waxahachie for legendary coach Sandy Faussett-Stoops, under whose tutelage she played as a student. Weber came back to Ellis County last year after two seasons as a coach in Cuero.