Clear Creek seniors lead way
Players like outside hitter Rachel Hobaugh don't come around very often, and she's part of a senior class that's very special to coach Scott Simonds and the District 24-5A co-champion Clear Creek Lady Wildcats.
"Hobaugh has really had a great season, and she's a real calming influence on the whole team, and the kid simply never gets rattled no matter what the situation is," said Simonds, who is in his seventh season at Clear Creek. "She has embraced the leadership role this season, and has not only played great, but has led the team on and off the court as well. She's the only four-year letterman we've ever had since I've been here, and all the experience really helps.
"She's our career leader in aces, and really a great overall player being a great hitter, server, passer and defender."
Another key senior is Ellen Shoemaker, who plays wherever she's needed and continues to evolve as a fiery force at the net.
"Shoemaker puts the team before herself at all times, and throughout her high school career, she's played all three hitting positions," Simonds said. "She's having a great senior year after overcoming a lot of knee problems, and she plays a lot bigger than she is (5-11) at middle blocker."
It's the first varsity season for Shoemaker, and fellow seniors Allie Wilson, Sydney Fox and Courtney Boyes.
Boyes is also one of Clear Creek's top golfers, and she quickly came back from summer surgery to be ready to go.
"She dislocated her knee cap on the first night of our spring league, and I didn't know if she was going to be able to play this season," Simonds said. "She was (medically) released two weeks before tryouts and gutted it out and made her eight-minute mile with a couple of seconds to spare.
"Boyes has come in and given us some good serving off the bench and is incredibly supportive of her teammates."
Wilson was lost for the season with a knee injury about a month ago.
"It's truly a shame because she's really improved throughout her career and was really contributing well this year," Simonds said. "Hopefully she can rehab, get healthy and have a good club season, and move on to play somewhere next year."
Fox missed time due to surgery, but she's back and once again sacrificing her body.
"She works extremely hard and is always diving on the floor all over the place," Simonds said. "She's providing some good defense off the bench.
"Overall, this senior group has done a great job this season."
Clear Creek also has several underclassmen who are making a difference such as sophomores Ashley Smith (team leader in kills) and Courtney Richardson (assists), and junior Natalie Piznar (digs).
Piznar had 42 digs, Hobaugh 20 kills, 20 digs, four blocks and an ace, Smith 22 kills, 12 digs and five blocks, Richardson 50 assists, and Shoemaker eight kills and seven blocks in a 25-22, 18-25, 16-25, 25-23, 15-11 win last week at Clear Lake that gave the Lady Wildcats a share of the 24-5A crown with Clear Lake.
It's the seventh district title in the last 10 years for Clear Creek, which also won or was a co-champ in 2001-02, 2004-06, and 2008.
"Clear Lake takes the No. 1 seed because they beat us in four games in the first round, and we beat them in five," Simonds said. "That's according to our district tiebreaker rules."
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