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VYPE's Preseason Volleyball Top 20 -- No. 12 The Cypress Ranch Mustangs
August 13, 2012By Matt Malatesta of VYPE MAGAZINE - West Houston
The Cypress Ranch Mustangs
Next Level for Mustangs?
Coach: Arley Kocher
2011 Record: 25-15
Postseason: Fell in Second Round Katy
By Matt Malatesta
Cypress Woods, Cypress Falls and Cy-Fair High School have been the volleyball headliners in one of the toughest district in the state. Cypress Ranch is starting to get some shine and looks to be in the conversation on a regular basis.
"Families and kids move to this district to play against this competition," coach Arley Kocher said. "I love it and our girls love it. It's tough every night and to come out of our district into the playoffs, you are prepared."
Kocher enters her second season as the Cypress Ranch head coach and has high expectations for her Mustangs in 2011. They have fell in the second round of the playoffs the past two seasons, and want to bust through their glass ceiling.
"Our goal is to not play down to our competition," she said. "If we are supposed to win a match, let's do it in three games. We have struggled with that in the past and it's an intensity thing. Our chemistry is great, we are all on the same page, the girls are working hard and pushing themselves, so I think that won't be a problem this year."
Kocher has a superstar in her stable as well in sophomore middle blocker Shelly Fanning, a 6-foot-2 national recruit.
"Shelly is serious about volleyball and it just a great kid," she said. "She's build like a volleyball player and is so athletic for her size. She can hit, block and play great defense. Athletically she's a standout."
Supporting Fanning on the outside is Oakland-commit Rachel Grier, who is steady not flashing. Digging on defense is vocal leader Michaela Touchet, while Emily Martin is the team's senior setter.
"Rachel is quiet and leads by her actions, while Michaela gets everyone fired up," she said. "We have a very tight-knit group this year and ready to do battle."
Can You Dig It?
Can Cypress Woods challenge for the district crown in 2011? Challenge, yes, but win it, not likely. The young program is still building, but finishing second or third on conference in more reasonable. Shelly Fanning will be a complete stud and Coach Kocher has some young guns looking to compete for playing time this year.