By Dave Wagner
FLOYD — When the Floyd volleyball team was good last year, second-year coach Sean Wootton says, the Lady Broncos was very good.
When they weren’t, well …
“Either we were on or we were off,” Wootton said, citing an example. “Last year we beat House here in three games, and at their place they beat us in three games.”
The result was an 8-11 overall record, including 3-7 in District 3-1A.
The Lady Broncos, who haven’t escaped district play for a number of years and last won a state title in 1989, will try to turn their fortunes around this fall.
To do it, they’ll have to overcome a relative lack of size and the fact they have just one senior, 5-foot-7 outside hitter Noel Carpenter.
“If you have a short team, then you have to be a fundamentally sound team passing the ball,” Wootton said. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Carpenter, a three-sport performer who has captured three gold medals for the Lady Broncos in state track competition during her career, echoed Wootton’s sentiment.
“If we work hard as a team, we’ll get victories,” she said. “I think people underestimate us, but I think we’ll be a good team this year. We’ve got a lot of heart.
“Last year wasn’t a very good year, and we’re trying to change that.”
Wootton said his team is striving for one of the district’s two spots in regional competition.
“It’s a goal this year,” he said. “But we’re not going to look that far year. Our first goal is to be competitive in all our games.
“I think Fort Sumner will be our district champion, but after that it’s really competitive.”
A Santa Rosa native, Wootton has coached basketball for 10 years at four schools, but did not coach volleyball until his arrival at Floyd last year from Texico.
“I’ve had to learn a lot,” he said. “Coach (Mike) Littlejohn at Texico helped me out a lot; he’s done a lot of explaining to me. And my assistant last year, Jaytha Culpepper, also helped me a lot.”
The Lady Broncos begin their season on Tuesday at Tucumcari, with the district opener set for Sept. 14 at home against Melrose.
“We’re going to do better this year,” said Carpenter, a fourth-year starter in volleyball and an all-district selection in 2003. “I have a lot of confidence in our team.”