LATHROP — The honeymoon is over for Heather Anderson.
Anderson is entering her second year as volleyball coach at Lathrop High, and while the Spartans improved greatly last season, the second-year coach is not satisfied with the status quo.
“We are still kind of in that culture-building phase,” Anderson said. “And I think we need to get to that point where just winning a set is not good enough. We have to raise the bar and raise expectations.
“Last year we were at a point where we were just thrilled to be hanging in sets and winning sets and we weren’t always finishing, and that will only be cute for so long. We have to finish our matches, not just our sets.”
The Spartans 2016 season was a leaps-and-bounds improvement from 2015, going from a 1-13 Valley Oak league record and 4-15 overall to 5-9, 7-16.
“We were proud of what we did last year,” Anderson said. “I don’t want to downplay the improvement we made but we are looking to do more.
“Coming close to .500 is good considering our history but we need to build toward a future.”
One thing that bodes well for Lathrop’s future is a team with some size for once.
“After talking with staff members here, I found out that we have struggled with height in years past,” Anderson said. “That is not the case this year. I have three or four big girls that have power.”
A team with eight juniors and a sophomore with just four seniors on paper shows a young team, but youth does not necessarily mean inexperience.
“We have a young team, but we have a lot of returners as a lot of girls played up as sophomores last year,” Anderson said. “We have Mary Cotton and Avleen Kaur coming back along with our starting setter Karina Chavez.
“I am hoping that with all the girls coming back they will not be satisfied with just being close.”
Lathrop opens the season Wednesday, Aug. 23, on the road against Ceres at 6 p.m.