Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Veteran Southlake Carroll coach Arthur Stanfield has molded program with playoffs in mind
At 39-1, area's top-ranked team still not satisfied
Arms crossed, one hand supporting his chin, Arthur Stanfield does more than observe practice.
He studies. He scrutinizes.
He uses 20 years of experience to bring his team as close to perfection as possible.
Stanfield, who took over as the Southlake Carroll volleyball coach in 2009, inherited a winning program. But regular-season victories aren’t enough for Stanfield. He wants his team to be even better, even more competitive. He wants to win where it counts: in the playoffs.
Three years into his tenure, Stanfield has improved his teams each season, and his 2011 squad (39-1) is on pace to set a program record of 43 wins, barring any unexpected losses as it finishes district play.
When Stanfield arrived at Carroll, volleyball was already an institution. But where others saw wins, Stanfield saw areas where the team could improve. He was astonished to find that some of his players couldn’t bench press the bar, so he added weightlifting, conditioning and Saturday practices to the Lady Dragons’ regimen.
Stanfield also reorganized the teams. In the past, freshmen were rarely promoted to JV, but in his almost two decades at Red Oak, Stanfield had learned the value of planning ahead.
“Every year, we’re going to pinpoint two or three freshmen who have the chance to help us on varsity next year and move them up to JV,” Stanfield said.
In doing so, Stanfield believes he can raise the level of competition and better prepare players for varsity as sophomores. And although he upset some parents when he moved five sophomores to varsity in 2009, the move paid off. That planning allowed him to build close relationships with his seniors, most of whom he’s coached for three years. He thinks that might be the key to this year’s success.
Led by three Division I recruits — Sutton Sunstrum (TCU), Caitlin Nolan (Iowa State) and Janelle Jenkins (Louisville) — this year’s Carroll team has adopted Stanfield’s emphasis on the mental aspect of the game. Its two tallest varsity players are 6 feet, and Stanfield said that his team rarely has a height advantage. What it has instead are sharp volleyball skills and an ability to outsmart opponents.
“I think it’s really fun, in a David and Goliath kind of way,” said senior setter Kayden Cook.
Sunstrum and Nolan are all too familiar with their team’s recent playoff history, and they can rattle off the losses almost in sync — third-round loss in four sets, third-round loss in five sets. This season is their last chance, and Sunstrum says the team needs to break that third-round barrier.
“Now that it’s our last year, everybody wants to do well for him and for ourselves,” Sunstrum said.
They’re tired of looking back, of replaying that final game of 2010 in their heads. They’re tired of thinking about what could have been, what should have happened. Right now, the goal is defeating Coppell on Friday and getting to 43 wins on Oct. 25. But the team can’t help but think of what will come next.
“It’s going to be a dogfight for anyone to beat us,” Stanfield said.
Trust him. He’s been watching.
SPOTLIGHT: Sara Mossakowski, Frisco Centennial
Position: Outside hitter
Notable: In district play, Mossakowski has 17 aces, 90 kills and 72 digs. She is third on her team for the season in kills with 221.
Years of volleyball: This season marks Mossakowski’s 10th year playing volleyball. She started playing in third grade for her elementary school. She also lists beach volleyball as one of her favorite hobbies.
Off the court: Mossakowski is a country music fan, and her favorite foods are sandwiches and pasta salads.
College plans: The senior has orally committed to play at Louisiana-Lafayette next year.
AREA VOLLEYBALL RANKINGS: Class 5A
1. Southlake Carroll (39-1)
2. McKinney Boyd (35-5)
3. Coppell (31-7)
4. Hebron (27-10)
5. Flower Mound (24-15)
6. Flower Mound Marcus (23-18)
7. Plano West (28-10)
8. Grapevine (28-11)
9. Sachse (29-11)
10. Colleyville Heritage (28-11)
AREA VOLLEYBALL RANKINGS: Class 4A-OTHERS
1. Lovejoy (37-4)
2. Rockwall Heath (38-4)
3. Waxahachie (33-4)
4. Argyle (32-3)
5. Prosper (30-4)
6. Richardson Pearce (25-13)
7. Red Oak (26-11)
8. Frisco Heritage (26-7)
9. Bishop Lynch (29-11)
10. Frisco Centennial (24-14)