For the past eight years Kate Horsmann’s Franklin volleyball squad has never failed to make the state tournament under her watch. More impressive is where the Panthers finish in those tournaments.
Franklin finished 15-4 last Fall, at second place in the Hockomock League and earning a four seed in the Central-West Division 1 State Volleyball Tournament.
“We’ve never finished worse than the Quarter Finals in the tournament,” the Franklin coach said. “Unfortunately, we always seem to hit Lincoln Sudbury along the lines.”
Franklin once again made it to the Quarter-Finals of the State Tournament last season and once again hooked up with Lincoln-Sudbury, the eventual Central-West Champions, and was knocked out of the tournament.
Although the Panthers have successfully made it into the State Tournament on a regular basis, this year is special to the team and they are hoping to go out in style.
“We’ll be competitive and have a shot at winning the Hock once again,” Horsmann said. “That would be a big accomplishment being that this is the last year of the (Woodrow Wilson) Field House. The girls would like the building to go out with a bang.”
Horsmann will be relying heavily on a core of five seniors to make that dream come true this fall. Lauren Irvine, whom is the teams and possibly one of the best in the league, will play middle hitter for Franklin. The three year varsity athlete is not only quick on her feet, but a great blocker as well.
Beginning the season with a 6-2 offense Franklin will employ two setters. Jaimie Marenella will hold down the number one spot. Another three-year varsity athlete, she has played a lot of volleyball and is very good defensive minded player, which, according to the coach, is unusual for a setter.
“Not being a big team, to be successful were going to have to go with a lot of quick sets and rely heavily on Jaimie’s ability,” the coach said.
The other three seniors Horsmann will look to help carry the team are Amanda Farnan, a defensive specialist who is a very vocal leader on the court; Rachel Balon, another defensive specialist and Ashley Kennef, an outside hitter that has improved her athletic ability over the off-season.