PARIS — The Paris Lady Eagles have a new volleyball coach.
But the system? The expectations?
For Paris, it’s all systems go.
“I don’t feel like our expectations have dropped from what they have been the last six years,” first-year coach Jordan Devine said. “We’ve been to the finals six years in a row. We’re hoping to make a run and play the way we should, and hopefully we’ll be in the finals again.”
Devine isn’t exactly a stranger to the program. She bleeds Eagle blue.
Last spring, when Wes Davis announced he was leaving for Greenbrier, Devine was quickly named as his replacement.
“It means a lot to be back,” she said. “Wes got me involved in the program. Now, to be the one in charge, the pressure is there, but I’m happy to be where I’m at.”
The Lady Eagles, who open the season Monday at Lavaca, have won three consecutive 3A state championships. Even with the loss of key seniors Brynn Simmons, Riley Owen, Kylie Morris and Kaylor Braswell, among others, Paris may already have a leg up on the competition.
The Lady Eagles will host the 3A state tournament this October.
“We lost a lot of key players last year; that senior class was huge,” Devine said. ”(But) this year, it’s been all about getting as much playing time together. We’ve focused on getting those positions filled. There’s a big difference between camp and season.
“We ended our summer season really well, but I’m really interested to see how they come out and play when the lights on are on for real.”
Paris, 86-13 the last three seasons, returns senior Ryleigh Hardwicke. The 5-foot-10 middle blocker led the team with 402 kills in 2017.
Along with Hardwicke, Joni Inman, Lexie Hatcher, Katie King and Faith Mainer will help anchor the front row.
Robyn Gossard will take over at libero.
“She’s come a long way,” Devine said. “She’s playing really well.”
Eliciah Kury and Paiton Forbis are the team’s top setters, the coach said. Kury has also played middle blocker.
Junior Ciara Boswell will start at defensive specialist.
“I think we’re ready to go,” Devine said. “I think we’re going to rise to the challenge.”
Paris will get a good dose of competition Saturday at Harding Academy in a preseason tournament that includes Baptist Prep, Hoxie, Harding and CAC.