FALL SPORTS PREVIEW 2013: Faith Academy volleyball

The 2013 Faith Academy of Marble Falls volleyball team is Halle Shumate (kneeling, left), Rachel Love, Christina Lykken, Grace McAnally and Delaney Tipps; Taylor Denton (second row, left), Cara Worthing, Sierra Brinkley, Sophie McCannon, Fran Robertson and Danyelle Morris; head coach Mandi Mullen (back row, left), Ashton Heide, Hailey Shipley, Kristen Cherry, Kylie Kirby, Joanna Piatek, Jordyn Tipps, Leah Kennedy, Theresa Bennett and assistant coach Bobby Tipps. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

TEAM: Faith Academy of Marble Falls volleyball

HEAD COACH: Mandi Mullen

DISTRICT: 4-2A of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools

2012 RESULT: 3-13 overall and 3-7 in district for fourth place; lost in bi-district championship to Rockwall Heritage

RETURNERS: Joanna Piatek, Kristen Cherry

NEWCOMERS: Taylor Denton, Ashton Heide, Hailey Shipley, Sophie McCannon

OUTLOOK: In their first-ever season in 2012, the Lady Flames advanced to the playoffs but lost to Rockwall Heritage. So the team’s goal this year is to win in the playoffs, new head coach Mullen said.

Mullen served as the squad’s assistant coach last year. She taught the players much of the skills, technique, footwork and plays.

The Lady Flames also had a couple of built-in advantages last season. They had some tennis players who understood the value of winning points off serves. Mullen was pleased to see her players remembered much of what they learned a year ago. In addition, some attended camps and took lessons to improve, she said.

“We’re not going backward at all,” Mullen said.

Austin Hill Country is the defending district champion, and Mullen said she believes it will be strong again. Waco Vanguard also should be in the mix, she added. But the Faith coach doesn’t discount her own squad.

“I expect a lot because we have a lot of potential,” she said. “If they set their minds to it. We’re at a point now where we’re learning to win.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com