When Tracy Hurst was hired as a coach at Lake Highlands High School, she was told she had five years to turn the school’s dragging volleyball team around.

Three years later, the team won district with an 11-3 record and made it to the playoffs – a feat never accomplished by a Lake Highlands volleyball team.

“I wasn’t satisfied waiting five years,” Hurst says. “We just don’t have the tradition. The football team is expected to win. We’re trying to build that tradition for volleyball.”

Part of building that tradition is encouraging school spirit and more spectator turn out for the games. There has been a record attendance this year, with as many as 150 fans in the audience.

Hurst says the team’s success is due to the players, who she says are great athletes. The six seniors on the team have played together all three years in high school. Four of them – Tamara Shulman, Mandy Pinkerton, Chenoah Lofton, and Stacy Allen – plan to play the sport next year in college. Laura McClendon and Liz Prescitt, also seniors on the team, plan to play soccer in college.

“We had all the talent last year,” Hurst says. “We just didn’t have the experience. Volleyball is such a difficult skill.”

“We’ve come a long way. If we can make it out of district, we have a chance to go all the way.”