(Tribune photo/Scott Nuzum)
Sonya Garcia, who played for FSCC in 2001 and 2002 and a native of Jasper, Mo., took over the program in the winter, replacing Angie Kemmerer. Garcia played for Kemmerer during her predecessor's first two seasons as head coach.
This will be Garcia's first head-coaching job. She is looking forward to running her own program.
"I love that I can run the program and do the things I want to do," Garcia says. "And I couldn't imagine a better place than here as my first head-coaching job. I've told everybody I've been spoiled here with everything at Fort Scott. The people are great; the other coaches are wonderful. The environment is very friendly and my team is wonderful. I couldn't imagine a better team to have my first year as a head coach."
The teams Garcia played for won 24 games over two seasons, 12 in each one. The program hasn't won more than 11 games in a season since, going 3-30 last season.
That doesn't seem to concern Garcia, who wants to make Fort Scott Community College a place where athletes want to come, play for a winning team, then have a chance to go on to a college that suits them both athletically and academically.
"This year, I'd like to get the program started turning around and getting a few more wins than what they have previously," Garcia said. "Making it more competitive, where we get our name out there and we can say Fort Scott is a growing, competitive program. And when we get that name out there, the best girls will come to us. We have a lot to offer at the school and a whole lot to offer with this program.
"I know plenty of people I can help out all over the country that I can help out with girls going to different places to play rather than just staying around here," Garcia noted. "If they can have a chance to experience something like I did -- I would have never dreamed of playing on the east coast. And that experience was unbelievable. If I can give another girl an experience like that, that would be great. That's something where we have something big to offer."
After her time as a player at FSCC, Garcia went on to the University of Bridgeport, an NCAA Division II program in Connecticut. She moved to New Jersey and has spent the past five years working on her Master's degree. While doing that, she coached high-school club teams, and assisted at high schools and for Stevens Institute of Technology, which made an appearance in the NCAA Division III Elite Eight the year she coached.
"Division III is still a whole 'nother atmosphere," Garcia said of the non-scholarship division. "It was a great experience. I learned so much about coaching there."
The Greyhounds begin play this weekend in a two-day tournament at Butler Community College at El Dorado. They will have their first home match at 6:30 Wednesday against Neosho County at Arnold Arena.
Seven sophomores will be on the roster, including Fort Scott High School graduate Crystal Colvin, who also plays softball at FSCC, and Nevada graduate Kaitlin Holland. Other sophomores are Beth Brittain of Wichita, Jamie Davis of Kansas City, Kan., Jennifer Doby of Leavenworth, and Ashley Watkins and Tristen McGrath, both of Olathe.
Freshmen include FSHS grads Brooke Clements and Ashley Cavin, Adrienne Dodge of Galena and Camille Becerra of Merriam.
The Greyhounds will not be a tall team, so they will have to rely on precision if they are going to compete.
"This team is going to be known as a great serving and great defensive team," Garcia said. "Since we don't have the height, we might not be able to pound away every single ball but we will be able to keep the ball in play and make the other team make mistakes."
The starting line-up is "evolving," according to Garcia. The Greyhounds attended a scrimmage with several other conference teams last weekend at Butler. The main goal was to play different lineups and see how players worked with each other.
"We held our own," Garcia said. "We split with Kansas City. We tried a bunch of different rotations. This past weekend wasn't really about winning a lot of matches. It was about seeing who works best with whom. This weekend, hopefully, we can find a few rotations that really work to see if we can get a starting lineup going."
"I think that, as the season goes on, we're going to be a lot tougher. I think we're really going to surprise a lot of people."
Bold print indicates Jayhawk Conference-Eastern Division match.
Aug. 22-23.....at Butler Tournament
Aug. 27........NEOSHO COUNTY, 6:30
Aug. 29-30.....at McKendree (Ill.) Tournament
Sept. 3........at Cowley, 6:30
Sept. 6........at Cottey, Mo., 10:30 a.m.
Sept. 9........COTTEY, Mo., 6:30
Sept. 10.......JOHNSON COUNTY, 6:30
Sept. 11.......ARKANSAS-FORT SMITH, 5 p.m.
Sept. 15.......at Arkansas-Fort Smith, 6 p.m.
Sept. 17.......at Butler, 6:30
Sept. 19.......NORTHEASTERN OKLA. A&M, TBA
Sept. 22.......at Bethany JV, 6 p.m.
Sept. 24.......CLOUD COUNTY, 5:30
Sept. 29.......at Longview, Mo., 6 p.m.
Oct. 1.........at Highland, 5:30
Oct. 6.........STATE FAIR, Mo., 5:30
Oct. 8.........INDEPENDENCE, 6:30
Oct. 13........at Labette, 6:30
Oct. 15........ALLEN COUNTY, 6:30
Oct. 16........BETHANY JV, 6 p.m.
Oct. 23........at Hesston, 6 p.m.
Oct. 25........at State Fair., Mo., 1 p.m.
Oct. 27........KANSAS CITY, 6:30
Oct. 29........at Coffeyville, 6:30