Poteet senior Kylah Hunter is one of the key returning players for the Pirates after being named 13-5A libero of the year last season.

The 2020 volleyball season has been, and will be, different for a number of reasons.

But for Poteet, it goes beyond the complications brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the first time in more than 25 years, the Pirates have a new head coach as Erika Dupree, who once starred as a player at the school, takes over for Lisa Lisewsky, who announced her retirement at the end of last school year.

Lisewsky spent more than two decades in building Poteet into a perennial playoff team, having qualified for the postseason in 22 of the last 24 years.

The Pirates will look to continue those winning ways and they should have the personnel to do just that.

“The girls have a lot of will to get better and work hard every single day,” Dupree said. “The core girls were starters last year and are ready to make an impact and leave a legacy.”

Poteet, who was 24-20 last season before falling in the bi-district round of the playoffs, graduated four of their top five hitters from a year ago, but they do return the team leader.

Junior Aniyah Harrington averaged 3.7 kills per set as she was named to the 13-5A first team after also recording 45 aces, 25 blocks and 3.2 digs per game.

She is one of a trio of returners who are all-around players.

Senior Kylah Hunter was voted the district libero most valuable player as she led the team with 5.2 digs per set, while adding 40 aces behind the service line.

Junior Margeaux Shields, a second-team all-district honoree, emerged as the team’s setter, registering 9.6 assists per set, but did much more than just pass, as she tallied 1.1 kills and 2.9 digs per game to go along with 43 aces and 24 blocks.

Seniors Samantha Woods, Victoria Maldonado, Ardreuna Davis, Audrey McKiddy and Peyton Jones and juniors Alyssa Lopez and Jahzara Ogunniyi also earned varsity experience last season.

And keep an eye on sophomore Sai Brookins-Fleming, a 5-8 sophomore outside hitter who should play a huge role for the Pirates.

As all teams have tried to do during the pandemic, Poteet has tried its best to stay in shape with at-home workouts and embraced the motto “Embrace Change”, to adapt and work with any situation and is applicable to both a coaching change and the delay of the start of the season.

But barring any more postponements, that beginning is just around the corner, with the Pirates scheduled to open the season at Frisco Memorial on Sept. 15, with the start of the 13-5A season slated for Sept 29 at North Forney.

“My expectation for this season is for the girls to literally play each game and each practice like it is their last,” Dupree said. “Literally, I remind them that this could be our last day, so do your job and make it count each and every day.”

For continued coverage on the local sports scene, follow Devin Hasson on Twitter: @DevinHasson

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