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Hoyt back at the reins for Hoxie volleyball

Published on -10/25/2012, 9:59 AM

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Hoxie High School coach Shelly Hoyt has enjoyed a long run of success with the Indian girls' basketball team. That includes a Class 1A, Division I state runner-up appearance two seasons ago and a championship last March.

Hoyt had coached volleyball, but stepped aside from the varsity in the fall to officiate volleyball and coach junior high. This season, Hoyt again took over the Hoxie volleyball program and worked with many of same girls she had in junior high and had posted back-to-back trips to the state championship game in basketball.

"I knew them all and I knew all of their strengths, so it's very rewarding to be working with them again, and I feel pretty blessed and honored to be their coach because of all the hard work they put in," Hoyt said.

After it missed the state volleyball tournament last season, Hoxie has again returned to state this fall. Under Hoyt, the Indians carry a 36-2 record into the Class 1A, Division I tournament at Gross Memorial Coliseum.

"They knew they should have been at state (last year), and that was disappointing to them," Hoyt said. "They didn't want that disappointment to happen again. They have put in the work."

Hoxie, the No. 2 seed, plays in the four-team Pool II and will open play against No. 7 seed Bucklin at 3:30 p.m. The Indians' pool also includes No. 3 seed Centralia, a longtime volleyball powerhouse.

"In the past, when I coached volleyball, we were at state several times and we have won games where we shouldn't have won on paper and we lost games that the paper says we shouldn't lose," Hoyt said. "So, once you get down there, I think everybody is on an even playing field. You just got to bring your best, and that's what we plan on doing,"

Hoyt, who will enter her 12th year as Hoxie girls' basketball coach this winter, had coached volleyball for many seasons, including four at Hoxie. She went into officiating for several years and enjoyed that. But Hoyt took over for former coach Christy Juenemann in late spring. When she had the current varsity players in junior high, the group posted several undefeated seasons and league titles.

"I just was excited to get back into it and knowing the kids and everything -- you are not only coaching great players, you are coaching great people," Hoyt said. "It was a decision that wasn't too difficult for me."

The team has four seniors, three of whom play key roles in Danel Stithem, Sarah Farber and Ellie Heim. All three also play basketball. In addition, juniors Kristina Farber, Gabi Spresser and Natasha Allmer see significant time in volleyball and basketball.

Sophomores Carly Heim and Lexi Schamberger -- starters for basketball -- have played well in volleyball, too.

Hoyt said the team has had several surprises in senior Courtney Schamberger and freshman Terran Hoyt. Carly Heim and Hoyt are the main setters. Stithem, Kristina Farber, Allmer, Ellie Heim and Carly Heim play in the front row. Sarah Farber and Gabi Spresser are the defensive specialists.

"We had a great nucleus, and then we had some great surprises that have helped us as well," Coach Hoyt said.

The 5-foot-9 Allmer is a role player in basketball, but Hoyt said Allmer's strength is volleyball. Allmer suffered a serious high ankle sprain in the first summer basketball game and missed time.

"She is a very natural volleyball player," Hoyt said. "It comes naturally for her. She was hurt all summer and didn't get to do anything and it took her a while to get going and she is playing very well right now and kind of what we had expected from her. She is a big force for us in the front line."

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