Superior, skillful, sensational, sarcastic, satisfactory: there are many words you could use to describe this year's Cassville Ladycat volleyball squad, but sad would not be one of them.
It would be easy to see why Cassville's volleyball squad could be sad. The Ladycats have not had a ton of success this year with their record now 4-23. Yet, the team is not discouraged.
"We are a young team, but we have a lot of talent," said Destiny Massey, the team's lone senior.
Olivia Cline joined Massey's characterization "We all try our best . . . and I always think we have a shot," said Cline.
Cassville's multiple S's give them a chance in every game. If you attend a Cassville volleyball game this season, you will hear them announce six starters. All six are just sophomores. Their seventh starter, the libero, is Massey.
With this group, the Ladycats feel like they still have a great chance to secure some wins and make an impact in their district. Cassville best exemplified this in a matchup last week, when they took on the Carl Junction Bulldogs (19-3-1, 10-1).
The Lady Bulldogs came out in the first set and showed why they are at the top of the conference. Cassville led briefly 3-1 before Carl Junction took control of the set. The Bulldogs allowed Cassville to score consecutive points only twice in the entire frame, which led CJ to a 25-12 victory.
Cassville was not done though. The Ladycats fought back in the second set.
Trailing 14-21, Cassville found its groove and scored eight points to the Bulldogs' one, effectively tying the match at 22. Carl Junction went on to win 25-22, but Cassville made them sweat every moment.
The Ladycats have played each one of the top three teams in the conference, Carl Junction, East Newton and Mt. Vernon, within five points in at least one set this year.
"As you can tell by our roster, we are very young this season," said Head Coach Mandy Henry. "These girls are getting experience that most players don't see until they are juniors or seniors."
"This sophomore class is hungry," continued Henry. "They want to win, but they are also not afraid to work hard to do so. If we can keep improving and not settle for where we are, I see this class bringing something back to Cassville volleyball."
Henry also complimented the middle school programs for their accolades this year.
Cassville finishes their regular season this Thursday at Seneca and will start play in the district tournament next Monday. Their first opponent will be East Newton (18-2-1), the top seed, just the type of team that Cassville could topple.