Texas Wesleyan’s volleyball team has had a tremendous season, and head coach Kimberly Weaver hopes next season will be ever better.

But this, Weaver said, means that the younger players are going to have to step up and replace the five outgoing seniors who have brought so much leadership to this year’s success.

The leadership of the team’s five seniors means that the squad has become like sisters to each other, Weaver said.

“Each of our seniors is greatly contributing to the leadership of this team,” Weaver said. “Every team is special, but these girls are just a little bit different. I love being their coach and am so proud to have witnessed their success and to have shared in their journey. We have a core group of juniors and sophomores who I believe will seamlessly step into a leadership role this spring and next fall.”

Next year the team will be looking to shore up some of the positions the graduating seniors have left vacant, Weaver said.

“We need to extend our depth in the middle and replace Abby Zipoy’s ability to score a lot of points,” Weaver said.
The Lady Rams finished their pre-conference season on Thursday with a comeback 3-2 home win over Mid-America Christian University, according to ramsports.net. The win left the team at 23-10, including a 12-4 record in the Sooner Athletic Conference. The team’s five seniors (Zipoy, Mary Trejo, Starnisha Bodie, Shaughnessy Hearn and Kristina Gafford) were honored at the match.

Bodie, a psychology major, said she is a fighter and on the floor she shows this with her emotion.

“I try to emphasize to my teammates that no set will ever be handed to us, and it might be extremely hard. If you give everything you have each second of the game, you are more likely to win,” Bodie said.

When it comes to players who will step up next year and become even better than they already are, Bodie said junior Shelby Stinnett will take that step.

“Although I have only played with Shelby for two years, I have seen her grow into a remarkable leader on and off the court,” Bodie said. “Her passion for the game is truly remarkable, and can potentially take our volleyball program to another level.”

Gafford, a business major, said she has led by example and worked hard, and hopes the team has seen this in her play.

“I just want my teammates to know to give it their all, and to never give up no matter what the score is,” she said. “You never want to have regrets at the end of the day, and once you become a senior, you really realize that your career is coming to an end, so you want to do whatever it takes to be proud of yourself.”

Gafford said her time at Wesleyan has had a profound effect on her, and that Weaver has helped her tremendously.

“She has taught me to play more selfless than I have ever played before,” Gafford said. “She does a good job working with everyone’s self-confidence and really believes that we can do anything. That confidence that she has in us translates to our own self confidence. I think that is why we are doing so well this season.”