The excitement surrounding a new school and the opportunity to create a foundation to base long-term, high-level success and competition has proliferated itself into every conversation had with athletes, coaches and administrators at Rock Hill High School.
The Blue Hawks volleyball program finds itself in a position to do something great. This season is one of hope and promise.
According to Rock Hill head volleyball coach Angel Mauterer, "We want to create an elite culture at Rock Hill.
"We want not only the volleyball team to be united, but the entire school to be unified and supporting each other. The motto (is) `You play one of us, you play all of us.’ Our seniors talk about setting this standard as well as setting the expectation of giving 100 percent every day, leave it all on the court."
Mauterer was chosen as head coach to lead the volleyball program after spending the last two years as an assistant coach of the successful Prosper High School volleyball program.
Mauterer has 17 years of head coaching experience beginning with Dominican High School in New Orleans. Dominican finished Mauterer’s inaugural season there as Class 5A state runner-up. Her second season, they were a state tournament semi-finalist.
After a stop at the Oakridge School in Arlington, Mauterer’s program at Creekview High School (Carrollton) made nine straight playoff appearances in her 12 years there. That included two district titles and a regional quarter final appearance, with Mauterer being named district coach of the year two times.
Her final stop before going to Prosper was as head coach at Lake Dallas High School, where they made one playoff appearance that ended in the bi-district round.
When asked about the opportunity that she has been given at Rock Hill, Mauterer commented, "I am excited to help build an elite athletic program with an amazing group of young athletes. It is an honor to work with the people in our Prosper community because they always do what is best for our kids and their future."
Rock Hill finds itself in an extremely tough District 10-5A.
Landing in the same district with Lucas Lovejoy, the second-ranked volleyball team in the nation according to USA Today Super 25 preseason rankings, is a big deal.
From top to bottom, the district will be very strong. Opponents the Blue Hawks will face also include The Colony, McKinney North, Princeton, Denison, Sherman and Wylie East.
"If we continue to work hard and stay competitive, we hope we can finish in the top half of the district and have the chance to make a playoff run," Mauterer stated, adding, "We have realized that we have an extremely gritty team that will push and challenge each other each and every day. These young ladies love to compete with each other but most of all they love to see their teammates be successful."
After the first few weeks of workouts, the Blue Hawks are on pace based on their goals and are achieving improvement where needed on a daily basis.
Rock Hill is looking to a group of seniors for leadership and creating the culture they are working toward as a program.
The Blue Hawks are fortunate to have a lot of athleticism, and one can see that in the scrappy defense they play.
Keys to success seem to be continued growth as a team and improvement in their ball control. Lack of experience at the varsity level is their only area of weakness.
When asked about the overall progress of the team’s preseason workouts, Mauterer noted, "Some of the athletes that have stepped up are Montana Crumbaugh, a senior outside hitter. I expected great things from her this year, but she has stepped up as a player and leader. Another player that has made an impact is senior setter Taylor Bass. She has been a great leader and has really changed the dynamic on the court."
The varsity roster will also include Willow Hawkins (JR/DS), Anyha Lindsey (SO/DS), Kendall Rench (SO/S), Hayli Herrington (JR/DS), Hailey Smith (JR/MB), Ainsley Johnston (JR/DS), Sydney Gemmell (JR/RH), Jenna Curran (SR/RH), Sydney Holloway (JR/DS), Shaylee Shore (SR/MB), Shallan Marcum (SR/DS), Mychael Singleton (SO/DS), Ella Nowlin (SO/OH), Alexa Breslin (JR/OH), Hiya Bhatee (JR/S) and Jai Dotson ( SO/MB).
Nowlin and Emma Kuhn are also serving as managers of the varsity volleyball team.
Asked about dealing with the COVID-19 restrictions and UIL protocols preparing for the season so far, Mauterer commented, "All programs are dealing with COVID restrictions. We have created individual player stations throughout our gyms for the students to have water breaks. The stations are spaced out 10 feet apart from each other. Our athletes have chosen to practice in masks.
"I don't see the restrictions as a hindrance any more, it is just our new normal. As I said already, everyone in the state is dealing with the same guidelines. We are just excited that we get to play."