Arp’s Leigh Ann Roberts can’t think of a season that featured more seniors on the roster.
The 28th-year coach gives fair warning to each freshmen class, which far outnumber the seniors, about dedication. Most, however, fail to reach their fourth season.
“We usually have a slew of freshmen and then we get to the seniors and there’s two, three — the ones that survived,” said Roberts, who has more than 700 wins. “But this year we have six, which is the most we’ve ever had. That shows they understand what’s expected and this is a tough group.”
With just one match left in the regular season, the seniors could finish their high school careers without a league loss at the varsity level. Following tonight’s idle date, the Lady Tigers (30-6, 9-0 in District 21-2A) meet Winona in the league finale on Tuesday’s Senior Night at AHS.
The senior class’ ability to make it through the program reflects an ability to win at a high level. The work that’s put into focus and improvement can be witnessed each match.
“We put in our hours and our practices are intense,” Roberts said. “They don’t get much for water breaks. We are really intense in our practices and they know they have to work hard.
“We put in a good, two-and-a-half hour practice. And our summer preseason two-a-days are actually two-a-days. They work hard and they know what’s expected.”
Latrice Greenhouse, an outside hitter, has competed at the varsity level for four seasons and ranks as the Lady Tigers’ elder veteran. The other seniors are outside hitter Pamela Williams, libero Allie Alibrando, setter Alexa Faraimo, middle blocker Chelsea Johnson and middle blocker Gena Allen.
“They take a lot of pride in the program and they’re all willing to work hard enough to keep the tradition going,” Roberts said. “A lot of them were stepping in for other girls.”
When it comes to statistics, Greenhouse, Allen and Williams lead the team in kills; Allen and Johnson lead in blocks; Alibrando and Greenhouse are tops in digs; and Faraimo provides the assists.
“They know I’m expecting them to work hard,” Roberts said. “That’s why I have six seniors.”