ST. DAVID — Achieving their number one goal for the season is of top priority to the St. David Tigers’ volleyball team and their coach Tylene Miller.
Coming off the 2019-20 season where the Tigers won the 1A state championship, they are hoping to repeat as the number one team in the state to earn their fourth state championship in school history.
“It would be great, absolutely wonderful, to take back-to-back state championships,” Miller said.
Miller, who has been the Tigers head coach since 2008, has been a part of each of their state titles (2013, 2016 and 2019). Never, however, have the Tigers achieved the esteemed back-to-back award.
This year the Tigers have 17 athletes competing on their junior varsity and varsity volleyball teams, including 6 seniors.
“We have very good players this season with so much talent and lots of potential,” Miller said. “We could do great things this year. We definitely have strong JV and varsity players.”
But coach Miller knows this season will not be an easy one.
“No game will be handed to us,” she said. “We will have to work hard for every victory. It will take a lot of hard work and dedication but I know our athletes are up to the challenge. The team chemistry is there.”
One of the challenges that the Tigers will have to face is the loss of their varsity gymnasium.
“Our gym is currently having a new floor installed and it won’t be finished until after our season,” Miller said. “We are practicing in the middle school gym. It’s definitely different from our high school facilities but we still have a place to practice and that’s a good thing.”
Miller is assisted by Breana Tillett who is in her eighth year helping coach the Tiger volleyball teams.
“I’m glad that we actually get to play and have a season this year,” senior Sydney Klump said, referring to the Covid19 restrictions that closed all Spring 2020 Arizona high school athletics. “We have a good atmosphere at practices – I’m enjoying playing. It’s fun to be around our team as we work together to achieve our goals.”
Senior Brylee Murray, who has played St. David volleyball since sixth grade, agrees that team unity is a big part of Tiger volleyball.
“We are all friends, we work together, and we are excited to do well this year,” she said. “I’m excited for our younger athletes, the freshmen and sophomores – I look at them and at how much they are learning and how hard they are working and know that they are stepping up to our volleyball challenge. That was me at one time.”
As the Tigers embark on their 2020-21 season, their dedication and team chemistry will always be in the forefront — far ahead of their challenges.
“There are always pros and cons to everything,” Miller said. “We choose to stay with the pros!”
The Tigers first games will all be on the road — at Tombstone on Tuesday, September 22nd; at Morenci on Thursday, September 24th; and at Willcox on Friday, September 25th.