Trojans have bulls-eye on their back
The Parkland volleyball team finished last year as the top team in the state, collecting gold with a win over District 7’s Fox Chapel. With nearly that entire squad back in 2016, the expectations were high once again for Scott Trumbauer’s crew.
According to Trumbauer, the Trojans have had “a target on their back in every match” this spring. It’s hard to argue with him.
When you’re in a position like the Trojans—a state title, two straight district crowns, and possessing the area’s top player to lead a highly talented senior class—no one will feel sorry for you. They may even hate you at times because of the success you’ve endured on the court.
“In any sport, not a lot of teams get to say they do these this kind of things,” Trumbauer said. “They came into this year with a target on their back in every match they’ve played. The way they’ve reacted and responded so far this year to every challenge they’ve faced, it’s a credit to them.”
The Trojans, who recently added their third straight district crown under Trumbauer, have adopted a mentality that has pitted them against the world. It might not be spoken much, but the Trojans are well aware of the price that comes with winning as dominantly as they have been.
Kyle Stout, who has started in each of those three district championships, can relate to it the most. As a member of the Parkland basketball team, he’s been along the ride for four straight district titles in that sport, too.
“We don’t really talk about it, but I think we embrace it,” Stout said. “It was the same way for basketball I thought with winning a lot of championships. When that happens people are going to hate. That comes with the success. I think that’s something we took on.”
The Trojans were able to channel that mentality against the Hurricanes last Thursday in their toughest district game of the season. In the midst of Liberty taking the third set and clawing back in the fourth set, Stout heard taunts from the raucous Liberty crowd at Allen High School
It may have all been in good fun trying to heckle the Trojans’ star hitter, but it gave him and the rest of Parkland’s group a boost that helped carry them over the top.
“It really fuels me,” Stout said. “I know the stuff they say. They’re just joking around and having a good time. I think all energy is good energy, no matter what they’re saying.”
While the stage shifts to a much bigger atmosphere, the mentality won’t change. Plenty of the top teams in the state have seen Parkland hold down the No. 1 rank in Class 3A for quite awhile now. Each wants to be the squad to dethrone the defending champs during its own quest for a state title.
And this group is fine with that. The only goal on their mind surrounds their own team, not anyone else on the opposing bench or bleachers.