For Woodrow Wilson volleyball coach Jim Harris and his team, the motto is simple – “three-peat in 1993”.

The defending 1991 and 1992 district champions have been on a roll the past two seasons, and there’s plenty of preseason optimism that this team can continue the tradition of success.

The Wildcats’ volleyball dynasty has peaked under Harris, who emphasizes fundamentals, defense and pinpoint passing. The results speak for themselves: a 9-1 district mark two seasons ago, and a spotless 9-0 record a year ago, when they defeated highly-regarded Denison on the way to region birth in the state playoffs.

The sweet taste of success has left one of Woodrow’s returning starters, senior Leslie Barnes, hungry for more. “We’d really like to get past the region this season,” Barnes says. “Our first goal is to win the district, of course, but we’d like to go further than we did last season.”

This will be Barnes’ third consecutive season starting for the varsity. The 5-7 strong-side hitter is entering her sixth year of competitive volleyball.

A Wildcats trademark is a lack of height, but a premium on teamwork.

“That win over Denison in the bi-district playoffs really got us a lot of attention,” Harris says. “It showed a lot of people what kind of program we have working here at Woodrow. We have girls that can play.”

Although four seniors were lost to graduation, a number of veteran players are back. Besides Barnes, Tate Henderson and Mavis Webb are front-line returning starters. On the back row, 5-5 senior Keri Andreason and 5-5 junior Cindy Post will anchor the defense, which is known for its scrappiness.

“We have some great passers and diggers,” Barnes says.

“Keri can dig out anything. We specialize on defense and blocking. Coach Harris gives us all kinds of drills to improve our teamwork and defensive play.”

Still, this year’s team certainly will be shorter than many competitors. Barnes, Henderson, Webb, Andreason and Post all measure between 5-5 and 5-7, although some of the supporting cast is taller.

But like David and Goliath, sometimes accuracy and teamwork can overcome size.

With grueling three-a-days behind them, a key to the Wildcats’ success will be how much they improve throughout the course of the season.

“We have a lot of unpolished talent,” Barnes says. “But the more we play together, the better we’ll get.”


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