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Volleyball: Centaurus aiming for reversal of fortunes

LAFAYETTE — Taylor Langer has suffered through a few rough seasons with the Centaurus volleyball team. Throughout the team’s struggles, she’s seen examples of both good and bad leadership.

The Warriors’ best all-around player, there is no doubt as to which side of the leadership spectrum Langer falls. She’s on the good side. The positive side. The side that inspires progress and leads to wins.

“We’re really looking forward to this year and kind of overcoming adversity from previous years,” Langer said. “I think this year will be better and we’ll have a lot more fun this year. Everyone has a leadership component and everyone brings something different to the team.”

The Warriors won two matches in 2011 and just one in 2010. As if two wins wasn’t a trying enough experience, the Warriors also lost their last 14 matches in a row last season.

While the team grew further mired in the losing streak, tensions were high on the team and some players were missing practice. Langer, who also has a 4.15 GPA in the Centaurus Engineering Academy, was there for it all and is determined to not let that happen for her final season with the team.

In order to avoid a slide at the end, the Warriors are showing up to work in the beginning.

“A lot of girls played club, we had open gyms and we did some scrimmaging,” Langer said. “We also did a lot of lifting and jump training so we were working hard in the preseason.”

A three-sport letter winner and captain on last year’s successful Warriors basketball team, Langer understands that success is a group effort. She’ll need the other two seniors, Katie Wirth and Lauren Kapushion, to help her rebuild the program, which hasn’t had a winning season since 2007.

Wirth, a 6-foot-1 middle blocker and captain, said the team’s overall attitude is already better than it has been.

“Right now we’re trying to rebuild the program,” Wirth said. “So, we’re trying to stay in a positive attitude even though we might not get all the wins that we want.”

Langer and Wirth said the Warriors think they have a good defensive line, especially in the middle.

Playing in the tough 4A Northern Conference, head coach Bev Sanders knows the Warriors won’t get many easy opportunities to improve their win total. But, she said, the players are adjusting quickly to a few new things and if they keep improving the way they have, they should be fine.

Much to her own benefit, Sanders said she is glad to have Langer around to share the responsibility of keeping the team on track.

“When things are getting away from them, sometimes I don’t even have to say anything,” Sanders said. “She’ll pull everybody in a gives them a pep talk about what we need to work on and what we’re missing. It’s really nice because she’s such a good leader I sometimes don’t have to do anything. That’s such a difference this year.”

Follow Brad on Twitter: @BradCochi