Uncertainty surrounded head coach Kim McCarty’s Williamsburg Lady Wildcats heading into the 2013 season. Losing five seniors who were a part of the last three Southern Buckeye Conference National division championship teams coupled with having to start three incoming freshman forced expectations and concerns to be viewed on a level playing field.
“Overall, I think we did pretty well for what we had,” the coach said. “We have a lot of young ones on the team and I knew that bringing in these freshmen, there would be a lot to learn and gain the experience they need.
“We have great talent, it’s just (matching) that up with the experience.”
While some were expecting 2013 to be a rebuilding year for the Lady Wildcats, it turned out to be more of a reloading year. At 14-7 overall and 8-2 in the SBC, Williamsburg was in the hunt for their fourth consecutive league title. When the regular season schedule wrapped up, the Lady Wildcats found themselves one game back of league champions Clermont Northeastern.
The two squads split their season series, but the Lady Wildcats’ Oct. 3 loss to Felicity-Franklin sealed their fate as the runners-up. While McCarty said the team came up just short of that goal, she felt that the team accomplished much of what they set out to do and stll look to continue their stellar play in the sectional tournament.
Leading the team into the postseason are the four returning players from the 2012 championship team: Jessie Brunsman, Sam Clark, Kelsey Burnett and Cassidy Bowling.
“The seniors definitely stepped up and helped to keep the team together,” McCarty said. “My setter who runs the offense, Jessie Brunsman, is ranked eighth in our district in assists. She’s done well making the girls look good on the front line.
“Our outside hitter Cassidy Bowling has hit really for us this year, who has stepped up for us when we lost some girls halfway through the season.”
The biggest surprise for McCarty has been the play of freshman Aubrey Young. Young, who is just the latest in the long line of Young family athletes in Clermont County, has proven to be a force at the net for the Lady Wildcats.
“She’s a very, very, very talented young lady who can hopefully stay healthy for the next few years,” McCarty said. “She’s a great hitter and a really good all-around player.”
Given the Lady Wildcats mixture of talent and experience, it’s no wonder they are planning to make some noise in the sectional. Couple that recipe with McCarty’s astute placement in the sectional tournament and the Lady Wildcats could be looking towards a run upstate.
As the No. 4 seed in the Division III Mariemont sectional, McCarty weighed her options and saw a path to the sectional championship that could be lined with familiar opponents.
“Looking at the draw, we have played Mariemont, who is the top seed, we’ve played them twice — once in a scrimmage and another in a home match,” McCarty explained. “Seeing where they were, I went down (to the bracket with them) and Summit, because we’ve played both of them and know the teams that we’re up against.”
The Lady Wildcats already took care of first-round opponent Ripley-Union on Saturday, Oct. 12 in straight sets. The Wildcats earned a rematch with Summit Country Day in the second round, which took place on Wednesday, Oct. 16.
The Lady Wildcats faced Summit in the first tri-match of the season, losing 25-17, 23-25, 25-14. However, with more than 20 matches under her team’s collective belt, McCarty thinks that anything is possible.
“I think with our bracket, we can pull it out if we come to play that day,” McCarty said.