Volleyball honors seniors

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The Madisonville Lady Mustangs volleyball team concluded their season with a district loss to Fairfield at MHS in straight sets last Tuesday. Before the game, seniors Jaycee Thomas and Chloe Olvera were honored on the court with their families for Senior Night and their last home performances.

“We had a big crowd tonight, which I was really hoping we would,” said Madisonville head volleyball coach Kristen Hooten, who finished her first season back at the helm this week. “I have known Chloe for a while but getting to know both her and Jaycee on a personal level this season was special. It was hard to see them cross the court for the last time.”

Hooten was the fourth coach Thomas and Olvera played under in four seasons, but they believe the foundation has been set for the Lady Mustang program moving forward.

“I think we were helpful and encouraging, which should allow some of the younger players to develop into future leaders,” said Thomas. “Tonight was very exciting, although I was a little bit nervous. I loved playing with these teammates that I have.”

“With a new coach every year, it is hard having to learn about them and them learn about us,” said Olvera. “We had a very young team, so it was hard to build on that this year. But I think we played a lot better than people thought were were going to.”

Tuesday’s loss eliminated Madisonville from playoff contention. Despite falling in straight sets, the Lady Mustangs posted at least 21 points in all three matches against Fairfield and dropped the opening game by a score of 28-26.

“I do not think we really played how we were capable until these last three district games,” said Hooten. “If we consistently played the way we did tonight, I think we would be in a completely different position right now. We just kind of hit a wall in the middle of the season and could not overcome it until it was too late.”

Despite missing out on the postseason, Hooten is just getting started in Madisonville and everyone on the extremely young roster will return in 2019 except for Thomas and Chloe Olvera.

“I think the two seniors and the players we had really built a foundation this year for us to grow on and for our program to get better. We are headed in the right direction,” said Hooten.

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