After first-round exits in five of the past six years, the Harlan Lady Dragons and coach Tara Posey are hungry for a deeper postseason run, and with only one senior graduating from last year’s 6-22 team, expectations are high for a turnaround.
“They are experienced, but they still have to learn to work together and come together as a team,” Posey said. “I expect them to at least go to region this year, at least make an appearance.”
Working together will be crucial to the Lady Dragons’ success, according to Posey.
“We have to utilize the talent we have on this team, and the girls have to know who is around them and who is on the floor,” she said. “They have to set them up to get some kills.”
Becky Posey, the coach’s daughter, is one of only two seniors on the team and will be counted on to be one of the Lady Dragons’ top players.
“Her serving has really improved,” Posey said. “She really started to get better last year and that carried through over the summer. I expect some good serving from her.”
Paige Woodsby, a junior who has played since middle school, is the most experienced player on the roster.
“She is a key player for us. She makes some plays that really surprise you,” Posey said.
Hannah Vaughn, also a junior, is one of the top servers on the squad.
“She has a wonderful serve,” Posey said. “She has also improved her spiking. I expect her to play a lot.”
Sidney Horton, a sophomore, has also impressed the coaching staff in the preseason.
“Sidney has been working hard in practice,” Posey said. “If she continues to work hard and improve, I hope to use her a lot on the floor.”
Posey is counting on junior Shanae Thomas and sophomore Jessie Cochran, both returning starters, to provide some athleticism.
“Shanae and Jessie moved into the lineup midway through last season and I expect a lot from those — a lot of blocks and a lot of spiking,” Posey said. “I also hope one of them will step up and be a vocal
Danielle Miller, a junior, will play a key role for the Lady Dragons around the net.
“We have a lot of big girls,” Posey said. “We just hope to keep them on the floor and get them in positions where they can help us.”
Taylor Horton, the Lady Dragons’ only other senior, is also expected to see varsity action, along with junior Tarolynn Burkhart.
Harlan opened its season with home games against Clay County, Leslie County and Barbourville. The Lady Dragons begin their district schedule Sept. 9 at Harlan County.