Lady Warriors Seek ‘Synergy’ As Expectations Start With Region Title [VIDEO]
Coming off what was arguably the program’s best season ever, the White County Lady Warriors know that the expectation has now been set higher than ever.
“I’m super excited…we’ve had three seasons with 20-plus wins,” says coach Shannon Smith, who enters her fourth year over the still-young program. “We are looking forward to another great season. We have a lot of talent and lot of good personalities, and the team cohesion is awesome for this upcoming season.”
Smith has headed up the Lady Warrior volleyball team since 2018. The program itself started varsity play in 2015, and prior to Smith had one playoff run in 3 years and a 10-win season. Smith has continued on that foundation, guiding the team to 3 straight 20-win seasons and 3 straight playoff appearances. That includes an Elite 8 run in 2019 and a #6 ranking and Sweet 16 berth in 2020 to go with a record 24 wins. Smith has a career coaching record now of 64-35 heading into this season.
“It’s nice to kind of see now the fruits of the labor so to speak coming out,” says Smith on her stamp on the program. “Coach Oakes and I…we have pretty much built this program into what it is, and it’s starting to show…the love for the game, the love for the players. It’s come around full circle. We are working for a common goal…hopefully we will be in that Final Four ring this year.”
The girls lose long-time playmakers Dasha Cannon and Jenna Ash, but Smith feels confident a new group has emerged to lead the team.
“Yeah, I’m going to miss those girls, they were awesome on and off the court,” says Smith. “We actually had some seniors that have stepped up this year. Cam Dorsey is going to be big for us this year, and Abbie Rankl has really stepped up as well.”
Others like Rusty Dye and Linsey Burke also return, and came into their own last season. The girls feel they have a shot at a region crown and another deep playoff run, but they are concentrating on playing for more than just themselves.
“We came up with our word for the season, it’s ‘synergy,'” says Smith. “When you have a combined effort that two or more things coming together produce more than one individual effort. The girls came up with that. They’re kind of rallying around the idea that we are going to produce synergy by all working together and playing as a team…It takes all of us to produce a winning season.”