New players pave way for Lady Lions volleyball

For head coach Geno Frugoli, the annual Green and Gold game showed the potential of what the Lady Lions could be.
“We’re just trying to find kids that are doing the good things consistently,” said Frugoli. “You see a lot of good things here and there, but who’s been doing them consistently, that’s what we’re looking for.”
However, with a 5-28 season in the rearview mirror, the pressure of improvement is on.  After losing the likes of Paige Dollison, Arianne Cruckshank and Chelsea Barr from last year’s squad, Frugoli looked both near and far to find the future of his Lady Lions team.
“I think some of our back-role players like Morgan Todd and Brooke Balser, who’s a local kid, and Katie Garrity; those are kids that will slowly work their way in the lineup and do special things for us,” said Frugoli.
Todd, a freshman defensive specialist from Fontainebleau High School, and Balser, a freshman defensive specialist/outside hitter from St. Thomas Aquinas High School, are two of the three Louisiana natives on the 2012 roster.  
Still, freshman middle blocker Veronica Turk earned the most attention in the Green and Gold game.  
“You saw that Veronica Turk can really make a difference,” said Frugoli. “But she’s raw, and you see the freshman coming out in her. She could be a special kid.”
The Lady Lions will in turn look to their seniors, who have been through the process several times. To Frugoli, there is one main candidate for the leadership role.
“Courtney Donald of course,” said Frugoli. “But some other people will also. Becky will be in a role like that, but some of our returners will too. Taylor Buckner’s playing the best she’s played before.”
Junior outside hitter Jessica Rauch finally donned the Lady Lions uniform after missing all of last season with an injury.  While she’s expected to get playing time, just how much is the major question.
“It’s up to Jessica,” said Frugoli. “Everyday she’s trying to get better and find some playing time. I like her attitude and her heart. She’s been working and showing flashes of being great.”
During their first tournament of the season, the Lady Lions went 1-3 at the 2012 ISTAP Collegiate Cup, winning their first match against Alabama State, 3-1. They would go on to lose their next three games 0-3, 1-3 and 0-3.
The Lady Lions will play two tournaments, the first in Akron, Ohio and the next, ending on Sept. 8 with the Southeastern Lion Classic.