ETV News stock photo by Dusty Butler
Many are anxiously anticipating the start of Carbon High volleyball. The Lady Dinos are positioned to make a lot of noise around the state this year. Even though Carbon lost six seniors from last year’s team that took fifth overall in state, the Lady Dinos appear more loaded with talent than ever before.
“We’re excited. If we keep everyone healthy, it’s going to be a fun year,” head coach Teresa Mower said.
Carbon has five seniors on its roster, including Emma Christensen, Reagan Smuin, Kayla Lee, Makenna Blanc and Katie Jones. Christensen, Blanc and Jones have started since their sophomore years and will be key components to the team’s success.
“Makenna Blanc is our setter [and] our team leader. She’s just our workhorse… That girl can just flat get to balls that any other setter on any other team can’t get to… That’s a huge advantage… She’s super valuable and she’s a competitor and she wants to win.” Mower continued, “Emma Christensen is going to have a great year. She is hitting the ball so well. We will be leaning on those two and Katie Jones. She is our libero and brings more energy to our court than any other player. She just has great leadership skills and she is always solid for us. She’s a workhorse and I don’t know what she has running through her veins but nothing seems to get her rattled, which is so nice as a coach. I know I can put Katie Jones in and she’s always going to have her head in the game and work hard. So, I lean on those three for sure.”
Mower then went on to talk about others, including a junior class that offers great supporting players and an important piece of the team. “They are great athletes and they are doing really well for us. And then we have two other seniors, [Smuin and Lee], that will be contributing as well.”
The Lady Dinos competed in a large tournament in Richfield this summer where they caught a glimpse of their potential. “In the Richfield tournament, we actually went all week as the number one seed out of the 32 teams until the very end. We got beat out by Madison, Idaho. They are a 5A school that placed third at state last year and then Box Elder beat us and they are a 5A team too. We did well; we beat Brighton, we beat some 5A schools. I’m super excited, honestly. I’m just ready to get the year going.”
The players have the same attitude, especially with the uncertainty surrounding the year due to COVID-19. “I think it has made us more focused,” said Mower when talking about the effect of the virus. “I think the girls are grateful to be back on the court. I think they were scared at one time that [the season] may not happen… They’re not taking it for granted, they’re not going through the motions. They are taking it as a great opportunity to play. I think it has been to our advantage… They’re appreciating every minute that they’re on the court.”
“They want to do well, they want to work hard,” she continued. “They work hard in practice. I really feel like they give me everything they’ve got, which is huge. They’re just a good group of girls on and off the court. I mean, they are all great students and great athletes, so it’s fun.”
Their hard work is already translating to success on the court. In fact, there were a number of college coaches and scouts at the Richfield tournament and one scout from Snow College told Mower, after several days of watching all the teams, that Carbon had “the most talented and athletic team” at the tournament.
If the Lady Dinos can continue to work hard and stay on the court, nothing is out of reach for this group. Their goal is to collect championship hardware at the end of the year, which is in reach. They are awaiting the beginning of the season with great anticipation. Mower concluded, “I’m more excited this year than ever before.”