The responsibility of carrying the torch in volleyball has been passed around among the Mesquite ISD programs over the years.
Recently, it has been Horn that established itself as the most consistently successful program.
The Jaguars have qualified for the postseason in 12 of the last 13 years and their run of seven consecutive appearances is the second longest in MISD history.
Horn has every reason to believe it can continue its recent run, with a good mix of proven experience and talented youth.
At the heart of the Jaguars is a trio of players who earned first-team all-district honors last season.
Sophomore libero Ryan Henderson immediately established herself as one of the area’s top defenders with 513 digs, an average of 5.5 per set, and also led the team behind the service line with 60 aces.
Junior outside hitter Makaila Harris is a two-time all-district honoree who is among the most versatile players in the district. Harris not only led the Jaguars in attacking with 233 kills (2.6 kpg), but also ranked among the team leaders with 45 aces, 30 blocks and 319 digs (3.5 dpg).
Senior Charlize Williams, a 6-0 senior middle blocker, provides a presence at the net, posting a team-high 78 blocks to go along with 138 kills.
Horn employed a pair of setters last season, and though one graduated, they do return junior Arianna Tubbs, who registered 326 assists, an average of 3.7 per set.
The Jaguars had several players who played supporting roles last season who could be ready to take the next step and head coach Kris Thornton is also excited about the prospects of a pair of freshmen in outside hitter/right side Madison Mosley and outside hitter/middle blocker Jada Shepherd.
Thornton said the team has a strong competitive nature and is encouraged by their ability to work hard, despite having to work around the restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, a factor all teams have had to address.
Though this has been an unorthodox start to the season to say the least, Horn will officially get things going on Friday at Joshua, and with the 10-6A opener right around the corner against Mesquite on Oct. 2, they feel like they will be ready to make another run at the playoffs.
“I have high expectations for the team this year,” Thornton aid. “We have four seniors that will be returning, but a bulk of our team are juniors this year with some young ones, too. I am excited about this year, because it is so different than previous years; we are not guaranteed anything and every day and game may bring another change (with COVID-19), but the girls are eager and ready.”