Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

During year of change, Cobras volleyball finds comfort zone

Seniors Cara Carley, left, and Katy McGee lead a team on a 12-match win streak. “We’ve grown stronger,” Carley says.

KERI WIGINTON | Times

Seniors Cara Carley, left, and Katy McGee lead a team on a 12-match win streak. “We’ve grown stronger,” Carley says.

HUDSON — The smooth wheels of practice began to churn.

A couple of laps around the volleyball court Tuesday afternoon, some stretching, a few sprints up and down the hardwood floor. The routines are second nature at this point, as familiar as their movements in a match.

Any friction from the offseason coaching change, or the internal chemistry issues that prompted a team meeting, have long been resolved.

All that stands between the Cobras and a berth in the 4A state title game is Jensen Beach. Friday's match marks Hudson's first trip to Lakeland since 2004. There were roadblocks along the way.

It began with an unexpected coaching change.

Former coach Linda McQuade stepped aside after 19 seasons, 12 playoff berths and three state final fours. That included a second-place finish in 2000. McQuade said then that she stepped aside to gain more free time. That left the Cobras in a precarious position.

After few potential replacements surfaced, Hudson landed Shayna Munson. She had extensive volleyball knowledge as a professional, at Eastern Michigan and thanks to playing in four state finals during high school. Munson played for Temperance Bedford (Mich.) from 1996-99. She had nine kills and seven digs in a 1998 Class A state title victory against Portage Northern.

Coaching brought on different challenges.

Often unflappable, Munson was so nervous before Saturday's five-game win at Ocala Vanguard she had an assistant write out the starting lineup.

"I was shaking so bad," Munson said. "I would feel a lot better if I was in uniform. Being in uniform relaxes me."

As a coach, she has a direct style similar to her predecessor. In huddles during game breaks, Munson addresses problems head on.

"She doesn't avoid the stuff we've done wrong," senior Katy McGee said. "She tells us how to improve. … We were afraid we would have a coach that didn't know what she was doing. … It worked fine."

One turning point came after Hudson was pressed in a five-game win at Springstead in September. Hudson senior Cara Carley said there was some bickering between girls that resulted in a team meeting. McQuade returned to help sort out the mess.

Since Sept. 15, the Cobras have won 20 of 21 matches, including a 12-match win streak.

"We weren't bonding," Carley said after the close victory against the Eagles. "There was social difficulties through the team. We had to look past that and realize volleyball is first. We've grown stronger."

Izzy Gould can be reached at igould@tampabay.com or (813) 421-3886.

. fast facts

Hudson (24-3)

vs. Jensen Beach (25-5)

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Lakeland Center

Need to know: Winner advances to Saturday's Class 4A state final to play the winner of Jacksonville Bishop Kenny-Fort Myers. That match begins at 2:30 p.m.

During year of change, Cobras volleyball finds comfort zone 11/17/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 6:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs roundtable: Time for another kicking panic?

    Bucs

    Five days after the beleaguered Roberto Aguayo got cut after missing a PAT and a field goal, new Bucs kicker Nick Folk had a PAT blocked and missed a field goal.

  2. The Bloomingdale's that a Ruth baseball built

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — A treasure, possibly worth half a million dollars, could lie behind a granite slab at the base of the Bloomingdale's flagship store in Manhattan in New York City, just a few feet from a window displaying designer handbags: a baseball signed by Babe Ruth.

    According to reports from 1930, this cornerstone of Bloomingdale's flagship store in New York City could have a baseball signed by Babe Ruth and other items entombed with instructions not to open for 200 years. The Ruth ball, if there and in good condition, could be worth a record $500,000. [ New York Times]
  3. U.S. repeats as Solheim Cup champion

    Golf

    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Lexi Thompson set the tone by rallying from four holes down. The rest of the Americans took it from there and restored their dominance in the Solheim Cup

    Lexi Thompson, left, comes back from four holes down to halve the day’s first singles match with Europe’s Anna Nordqvist to set the tone for the United States.
  4. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.