The Cassville Lady Wildcat volleyball squad will be returning three players with experience this fall, and Coach Jerry Schneider will be looking to a promising group of top prospects to make an impact.
"Competition has been good in competing for playing time," said Schneider. "We continue to work hard and compete each and every day in practice. No one player has stood out from the rest on a consistent basis. We need all to play well in their assigned duties to be successful."
Senior setter and hitter Rachel Sanders and junior libero Courtney Parnell are the team's only returning starters from last year's team that finished the season with a 14-15-2 record. Sanders and Parnell will be joined by returning letterman Libby Hinson, a junior outside hitter.
The team will also be looking for leadership from senior middle hitter Gabrielle Ogan, who is returning to the line up after missing all of last season due to ACL surgery.
In addition, Schneider has listed six other players who will be vying for varsity playing time and a spot on the starting line-up. These players include: junior outside hitter, Rhiannon Miller; junior middle hitter Callie Woods; junior setter Christina Willard; junior defensive specialist and outside hitter Ali Hanson; sophomore right side and outside hitter Sydney Curnes; and junior middle hitter Keisha Corn.
"We are hopeful for a successful season," said Schneider. "There will be some growing pains along the way."
Schneider describes Carl Junction as "the team to beat" in the Big 8 Conference. He expects the Lady Wildcats to compete in the middle to top of the conference.
"Our goal is to improve each and every time we take the floor," said Schneider. "If we do that and win some close matches, we have the makings of a good season."
Looking ahead, Schneider believes Cassville's strengths will lie in serving, setting and defense.
"Our offense will take awhile to become more of a force," said Schneider. "Blocking will be a challenge for us due to our size.
"Again, our goal is to be competitive each and every match," continued Schneider. "If we can do that and play together as a team, get along with our teammates and attempt to correct our mistakes, then I think we will have a good year."
The Lady Wildcats will open their season at home when they host McDonald County on Monday, Aug. 29.