Dawson focused on rebuilding district championship team

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In her four years as the head volleyball coach at Dawson, Lauren Leth has seen nothing less in the playoffs than a berth in the Region 3-6A tournament each season.

This high standard is difficult to maintain, even in the best campaigns.

With the loss of key personnel and uncertainty surrounding the 2022 squad, Leth knows there are no shortage of challenges for the Lady Eagles if they are to continue Dawson’s impressive playoff run.

“It’s never an easy road to the region,” Leth said.

“We have a few returning kids and a lot of new players.

“I think they’ve seen the older kids go to the regional tournament year after year, so I know that’s an expectation.

“I believe they are ready to work to make it happen again.”

However, Dawson’s evolution in some areas may come from small steps, but a rapid growth spurt will likely have to occur at some point.

“We have strong returning players on the bench and on the field, as well as players coming out of junior college, which has been a success,” Leth said.

“We need to make sure they acclimate quickly to the college game.”

Returning players from last year’s impressive 41-5 team include senior outside hitter Bryce Ranney, senior defensive specialist Carter Galley, junior outside/right side hitter Kailey Thedford and senior center tackle Ava Kennon.

“All of them were on the pitch last season,” Leth said. “We have good leadership there.

“These girls are very consistent and balanced, and I hope they pass that on to the rest of the team.”

Dawson’s main concern is with the setting position.

“We’ve been spoiled by having Kamryn (Scroggins) for the last four years,” Leth said.

“She was very talented and extremely fast. We will have to develop someone there.

“Then we will have to determine if we will be in a 5-1 or a 6-2. The assembly of the attack will happen when we decide who will take the reins at the setting.

“It all starts with determining who will be our smuggler(s).

Defensively, Leth thinks his team will be in good hands.

Effectiveness in defense should shift to the development of attack.

“We have very good defenders,” Leth said. “It seems like every year we graduate with a phenomenal libero, but there always seems to be one right behind it.

“Really, we’ve always been a defensive team first. We are generally not known for our big offense. We don’t have the big 6-foot-2 LSU commitments.

“We usually outlast teams with ball control and defense. It starts in middle school and progresses.

The Lady Eagles will have plenty of out-of-district games to address their concerns.

However, Dawson will not be participating in the John Turner Classic hosted by Pearland High School this year.

The Lady Eagles will compete in the Katy/Cy Fair tournament as well as events in Clear Creek and the Volleypalooza event in Leander.

These tournaments will lead into the District 23-6A competition where Dawson and Pearland will likely battle for first place.

Alvin and Shadow Creek are also expected to earn playoff spots.

“We set up a very tough competition so we could see our weaknesses quickly,” Leth said.

“So many kids are playing positions where they don’t have experience.

“These tournaments will help us challenge ourselves.

“We want to be strong in all areas, but at the start we really needed to see who could prove themselves in the setting roles.

“The skills are there, how long will it take is the unknown. I’m pretty confident that the girls will work to get where they want to be.

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