Lady Lions look towards life after Donald

Head volleyball coach Geno Frugoli will have a hard time topping last year’s recruiting class: freshmen Morgan Todd, Shelby Devlin and Veronica Turk all saw more than 90 sets of playing time this past season. He keeps trying to raise the bar, and it just may be working. Frugoli has landed high school standouts Lindsey Grace, a 6-foot-4-inch middle blocker from the Kansas City area to accompany Texas natives Perry Hartley and Landry Bullock, who will see time both on the inside of the net and the outside.
“My job as a coach is to always try to find a girl that can come in and compete with the players we have or may be physically better,” said Frugoli.  “And so I’m really excited about the players we have coming in next year.”
Grace looks to push both Devlin and Turk for playing time in the middle, leaving a formidable trio for opponents looking to score inside.
“She’s just a wall. She can block, and we’re really excited to get her in the gym and get her going,” Frugoli said.
Hartley hails from Columbus, Texas and will add depth if nothing else to what is becoming a deeper lineup each year.  
“She’s an all-around type player,” said Frugoli. “She can play some outside, can play some middle. Very well versed and comes from a great club system. So, I think she’s going to contribute right away.”
Bullock brings to the table something a little different: a player who can be used both inside and out and has a strong arm. She will compete with several veterans for playing time this season, along with Hartley and Grace.
 “She has a very big arm and maybe has some more powerful swings than some of our other girls, which we need. We need more offense, and she can also play some outside and middle,” Frugoli said. “So all three of these girls are going to help contribute and then give us some more size and strength that we definitely need. “
The Lady Lions lose star middle blocker Courtney Donald after an exceptional year in which she was named Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA) Volleyball Player of the Year. Donald hopes to continue her career overseas and would be the first to reach the professional level under Frugoli’s head coaching career.
“I don’t think you can replace a player like Courtney,” Frugoli said. “I know that’s a cliché when you hear something like that, like maybe Derrick Rose right now, or something like that. You don’t really replace a person like that, we have to do it by committee, so what I’m hoping is the three new girls coming in and some of the girls coming like Shelby Devlin and Veronica Turk that shined a little bit last year, they have to step up a little bit more. So we’re going to have to get it from four or five different sources, but I think we’re going to be a little bit more of a well-balanced team and maybe be a little bit more physical team. So, we can do that.”