When Janet Brannon took over the Southmoore volleyball program in 2008, she knew she needed to start building with youth.
She emphasized youth leagues, as well as junior-high and club teams, to help the sport gain interest with younger players, and now the results are showing.
Southmoore is up to No. 9 in the Class 6A rankings and will be a legitimate contender for its first state tournament appearance when regionals arrive in a couple weeks.
“We have four seniors on our team now who started as seventh graders in our junior high program,” Brannon said. “They're definite leaders in our program, not just on the court, but off the court.”
Senior Amy Serowski is a four-year starter. She and Micayla Payne are team captains, while fellow seniors Carly Fuget and Briana Ruby play extensively as a defensive specialist and right-side hitter, respectively.
The SaberCats have won eight of their last 12 matches to improve to 15-12 overall, while winning the Moore city championship. The schedule has included multiple matches against teams ranked ahead of them in the 6A poll.
“We've increased the level of competition in our schedule,” Brannon said. “I told them I'm really not focused on wins and losses, but I'm concerned with how we're working our game plan in those matches.
“The tougher competition has definitely helped get them better acclimated to playing those type of opponents.”