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SPOTLIGHT
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TMP set to begin season at Abilene

Published on -8/29/2012, 10:15 AM

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By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

Last season, the Thomas More Prep-Marian volleyball team accomplished a remarkable turnaround.

In 2010, the Monarchs won just four matches, and then Natausha Dreher was hired as head coach. Dreher got the team's numbers boosted back up, and TMP finished 17-17 -- a 13-win difference.

However, the Monarchs graduated nine seniors from last year's team, which included five all-MCAA players.

TMP returns just one starter from last year's team, but Dreher doesn't want anyone to make excuses for them.

"It's not like we are saying 'Oh no, we lost eight seniors. Our season is over,' " Dreher said. "This is a new season. This is a new team. We are going to be successful. That's the mindset that we are going to have going in."

The Monarchs' top returner is senior Megan Gottschalk, who was a left-side hitter last season.

"She has great hands and is very successful in the back row," Dreher said. "We are looking at her in multiple positions. She is a good, consistent hitter."

Dreher doesn't have her starters set for their matches at Thursday's Abilene Quadrangular, but she said she has multiple players capable of filling spots.

Dreher said sophomore Kelli Veach should see time at setter, and senior Alivia Inlow should be a solid hitter.

"They are putting in the time because they want to be successful," Dreher said. "They understand work has to come with (success). To say one person is stepping up? No, they are all stepping up, and that's what we need."

With her squad, Dreher said her team has the ability to play a 5-1 or 6-2 formation, depending on the matchup.

"Nothing is set in stone right now," Dreher said.

Dreher said her team is focusing on improving its defense.

"That's going to be a big thing for us," she said.

The quadrangular will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday at Abilene High School.

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