Lady Trojans ready to spike competition
Southwest looks to build off last season
Last year was a season that the Southwest volleyball team would like to chalk up to a learning experience.
The Lady Trojans had just one senior and went 4-25.
With that season now gone, the hope is that what was learned will payoff with the returning experience.
Senior outside hitter Bonnie Robbins leads the returning players. She led the team in kills, aces and serve reception last year. Robbins earned All-Conference honors for her efforts.
“[Robbins] has worked on her vertical and conditioning and seems poised to take it to the next level offensively and defensively,” said Steve Voyak, Southwest coach.
Classmates Khloe Holder, outside hitter, and Karma Romine, middle, will help with leadership.
“Holder also spent the summer in the gym trying to get better and working on her quickness and speed,” Voyak said. “She was the top spot-server and led the team in serve percentage as a junior. Her role will expand to include more serve reception, and look for her to up her kills total this season as she improves her confidence in hitting.
“Romine was an undersized outside hitter as a junior who has moved to the middle for her senior year. She has been making the transition this summer, but she expects to be ready in the fall. She will also be expected to expand her role in serve receive and back row defense.”
Olivia Ayer returns in the middle for her junior season after playing 65 sets last year.
“Ayer is an undersized middle who is still learning the position, but her energy is boundless,” Voyak said. “She needs to focus on the little things and she will have a good season, both offensively and defensively. She is also vying to be in the serve rotation and in some serve reception.”
Sophomores Olivia Erwin, defensive specialist, and Anna Church, setter/defensive specialist, will both have expanded roles this year.
“Erwin earned a letter as a freshman defensive specialist and handled some serve reception last season,” Voyak said. “Church is a three-sport athlete that has boundless energy and a positive attitude. She has split time as a setter and back row passer.”
Senior Harley Jester will also have a bigger role this year at defensive specialist.
Juniors Amy Reeves, defensive specialist, Shelby Pendergraft, right side, and sophomore Jordan Bayley, middle, will be some players who will step up to varsity.
“Pendergraft is a lefty who likes the right side and gives us some size and can help with the setting duties in a pinch,” Voyak said. “She works hard, but must be more consistent to earn a varsity spot. Bayley is the most versatile player because she can play both front and back row, and serve. She must work on her vertical and hitting fundamentals. Reeves played some back row and served a little on the varsity, but must become more consistent in serve reception to win a varsity job.”
Junior Penny Murray, right side, rounds out the players expected have a varsity impact.
“Our seniors want a memorable season, so they have put in the time in the summer,” Voyak said. “All of our girls have varsity experience and potential to get to the next level, but getting better is an inexact process. Offensively, Coach Mandy Henry has put together a system that has promise, but the girls have to execute it. They must work on their fundamentals and recognize their roles and responsibilities. They can’t use our size as an excuse. They must adapt and play bigger and faster. They are ready for the challenge.”