SW spikers fall in district play

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Southwest defeated Sarcoxie in the quarterfinals of district play but lost in the semifinals to College Heights Christian last week in high school volleyball action at Diamond. The Lady Trojans finished the season with a record of 9-21-2 overall and 3-3 in the Ozark 7 Conference.

"It was disappointing we didn't win more games," said Coach Steve Voyak. "We were inconsistent, but we also suffered more injuries than I can ever remember. A lot of volleyball is about repetition and we had different people in different positions almost every night."

Seniors Tasha Barnett and Briana Stephens, junior Heather Skidmore and sophomore Tiffany Shockley were the only four players that played in all 32 games. Some starters missed as many as nine games and it wasn't uncommon to play without two starters.

"It was the fourth year in a row we were defeated in the district semifinals," said Coach Voyak, who missed the district tournament to attend his father's funeral in Pittsburgh, Pa. "The girls were able to play College Heights tough for a set, but they were simply a better team and proved it by winning the district."

In addition to Barnett (top server at 90 percent and assist leader with 270) and Stephens, libero Susan Blakey and outside hitter Tina Schreiner will graduate.

Along with Skidmore and Shockley, juniors Marisa Fletcher (team leader in attacks with 188 and blocks with 42), Stacie Pendergraft (blocks leader with 51), Brittany Wright and sophomore Courtney Breamer will return next season.

"We'll need somebody to step forward to play front row as the outside hitters," Voyak said. "Those players could come from the junior varsity or from next year's freshman because they will bring some height. How hard the girls work in the off-season will help decide how much we can improve next year."

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