This is Part 1 in a 4 part series wrapping up the Fall Sports season. We also want to say to those who participated in Volleyball, Soccer, Cross Country, and Golf, we apologize for not covering you all as much as we should have and would have liked. The Lion Wire is adding a final staff member that will be covering these sports. We want all sports to succeed and also want them to be covered as well, and will do so starting with all sports this Spring.
-Brian Pate, Managing Editor, The Lion Wire
- Since Craig Case took over in 2010, he undertook a huge task to turn around a program that had been average at best. Talent had never been the problem, the way the program had been run was the problem. There are a lot of parallels to what Case has done and also what Colby Carthel has done with the Football program. Case took over a program that had success and a lot of potential. After a couple of at or near .500 seasons, Case got the team back to winning 20 plus games, notching a 43-20 record from 2012-2013. After a let down in 2014, he has since notched 55 wins and is the second winningest coach in program history. This season, he got the Lions back to the post season for the first time since 1988, and the next step is to get a Conference title and be a perennial National contender.
- Sarah Carthel (yes, that is Colby Carthel’s wife) has been a tremendous asset to the Lion volleyball program since becoming an assistant coach. Her plethora of experience and success is important, and also her ability to relate to these young Ladies who play for her and also her experience winning a national title at West Texas A&M and playing for The University of Texas as a Freshman are things that should inspire this group, knowing that they have a coach just down the bench who had those things happen to her. She is a completely invaluable asset to the Volleyball team.
- Winning 20 plus games consistently is something that a Volleyball program needs to do to be a contender nationally. This program has done that 4 out of the past 6 seasons and that trend needs to continue for recruiting purposes but also establishing a culture of winning. This program has had success before, but latching onto that tradition and adding a resume of winning will do wonders for the program. The “Best in Class” mantra is latching onto this program.
- The future of the program lands with players like Shelley Chapron, Jaclyn Wacker and Jaryn Wacker. These players notched all LSC honors and the Senior leadership will be key in leading the team next year. Also, look for homegrown talent like True Sophomore Riley Davidson (a Commerce native) to have a larger and more active role in the success of the team. Davidson was a legitimate Division I prospect, but decided to stay local and contribute as a true freshman. Players like that will set an example that they can thrive in a Lions volleyball program as an individual and as a member of the team.
- The Lone Star Conference stacks up pretty tough in Volleyball. The Lions finished second overall, but will have to compete every year with teams like Tarleton, West Texas A&M, Angelo State, Texas A&M-Kingsville will be competing year in and year out, however, next years schedule shapes up to be a favorable one for the Lions. Winning the games they should and playing up to potential will have the Lions competing for an LSC title and another slot in the NCAA Division II playoffs.