Coming off a previous eighteen-win season, head coach Kandis Schram looked to come into the 2016 campaign and build off what her 2015 Lady Scots accomplished. What Schram got instead was another 18-win season, far superseding preseason expectations.
The immediate dominance of players, like freshman right side hitter Brianne Sidner, and continued consistency of the rest of the team got the Lady Scots back into the post season, to no one in the USA South Conference’s surprise. However, a surprise instead came from the order in which the games were won.
The season did not kick off how most were expecting. Schram’s team stumbled initially out of the gate, dropping three consecutive matches after winning the home opener against Tennessee Wesleyan College. The offense would begin to show small flaws in fluidity and rhythm, which led to some of those early defeats.
The offensive struggles continued throughout the month of September as the Scots faced a 5-7 record through their first twelve games. Fans began to wonder as to why Maryville was struggling to this degree. Then, sort of on cue, the Lady Scots got hot, finishing September with five victories in a row.
Right around the middle of the season is usually when teams find out how good they actually are. This is also the time when the stars of the respective teams begin to spread their wings and really hit their stride. Two Maryville College players broke away and proved their positions in the starting lineup, Sidner and senior outside hitter Abrianna Jones.
Sidner and Jones saw the fluttering offensive and decided to take into their own hands. The back and forth battle of who would have the most kills in matches actually worked to the benefit of Maryville, as they went through October going 7-6, bringing their overall record to 17-14.
The Lady Scots again made it to the USA South Conference Tournament, looking to change the luck they had in 2015, losing in the finals to Covenant College. The grit and determination that flashed throughout the regular season was shown again as the Lady Scots advanced past Salem in the first round, sweeping them 3-to-0, and their attention turned towards Averett. However, that’s where their season would end. The Lady Scots dropped the semifinal match to Averett, 3-to-2.
This was not a season of disappointment due to not winning the conference tournament. It was the exact opposite, in fact. The 2016 season can be described simply as the beginning. With a powerful freshman class setting the foundation for the time being, the Lady Scots look forward to the next season.