Mehlville girls plan to serve up success

Panthers volleyball squad setting sights on district title

Mehlville High head coach Samantha Mueller is looking for her volleyball team to become one of the tougher teams in its conference. Bill Milligan photo

Mehlville High head coach Samantha Mueller is looking for her volleyball team to become one of the tougher teams in its conference. Bill Milligan photo

By Robert Chalupny

The Mehlville High School varsity girls’ volleyball team has been working its way back up the ranks in recent years to once again become one of the tougher teams in its conference.

The Panthers are now led by head coach Samantha Mueller, who is in her first season after taking over for longtime former head coach Susan Hurt. Mehlville has had a winning record the past two seasons, going 19-13-2 last year.

Mueller believes that the Panthers can continue that winning trend and possibly even improve on it this year.

“I am feeling good about the group this season,” she told the Call. “We only really have four returning players who were in the lineup last season, so we have a few new to varsity who are a little young and raw, but hard workers.

“My expectations for the season are for the girls to work together as a team to succeed and understand the game better than they have in the past. I also expect them to have a winning record and to play well in districts.”

Mehlville returns middle hitters Sami Reitz and Maddie Walters, setter Sydney Hill and defensive specialist/libero Anna Johnson.

In practices and a preseason jamboree, Mueller said she has identified some strengths and some areas of improvement for her new squad.

“We have a good team chemistry right now attitude-wise, very positive communication among team members,” she said. “The players are constantly working to better themselves and their team by implementing what we do in skill building drills into scrimmages at practice.

“When we are able to run our offense, it is effective and helps us to win games. We have been working on some plays to use throughout the season to enhance our offense. One area we need to improve on is just our overall consistency and cutting back unforced errors.”

During a recent jamboree at Oakville, Mueller noted, “… Some unforced errors in our first match against Oakville at the end of the game cost us the win.”

The goal for the Panthers in 2016 is to obviously have a winning record and win the district title, according to the coach.