This season’s Highland Park volleyball roster features many of the same names as last year — and the year before, for that matter.
(ABOVE – FROM LEFT: Avery Hellmuth and Kendyl Reaugh are two of the top returnees at the net this season for Highland Park. Courtesy photos)
Such depth and experience have the Lady Scots filled with optimism and expectations that are high even by their lofty standards.
“It’s the deepest and strongest returning group we’ve ever had,” said HP head coach Michael Dearman. “We think we have a chance to do something very impressive this year.”
Ten players return from a squad that fell to Frisco Wakeland in a five-set thriller in the second round of the Class 5A Region II playoffs last year.
Half of those 10 have been on the varsity roster for at least two years, helping to comprise a fierce net presence of hitters and blockers. Kendyl Reaugh will be a four-year starter this season. Kate Nugent, Anna Claire Nichol, Avery Hellmuth, and Kennedy Westendorff are entering their third campaign with the Lady Scots.
Four HP players already have pledged to attend Division I programs, with more likely to follow. Reaugh is verbally committed to Alabama, while Nichol will head to Wake Forest and Westendorff to South Carolina on a beach volleyball scholarship. Another senior, Lauren McMahon, is committed to Wichita State.
“The combination of experience with the level of talent we have really sets us up well,” Dearman said. “We’ve got a head start.”
Dearman said the depth and versatility throughout the roster would allow him to integrate a more sophisticated offense with more wrinkles.
Like last season, the Lady Scots will play a rigid nondistrict slate in August and early September — including three top-notch tournaments in Pearland, Justin, and Plano — to help prepare for a postseason run in November.
They will play 14 matches in District 11-5A in between, although HP swept all but one of those contests in 2018, and likely will dominate again.
“The nondistrict schedule is very important to us because that provides the most competition,” Dearman said. “We’ll be tested right off the bat. We will have seen the best of the best.”