Lady Bulldogs digging for district hardware

Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Wheaton’s Allison Whitman volleys a ball during the Lady Bulldogs’ win over Exeter on Friday. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

Wheaton volleyball turns in more than 20 wins this season

Returning starters and team chemistry have proven their worth this season in Wheaton, as the Lady Bulldogs volleyball team has turned in more than 20 wins and is taking aim at a district championship.

Wheaton (20-3) recently won Southwest Volleyfest, for the first time in decades according to Coach Robert Creekmore, and hope to lock down an Ozark 7 trophy, as well.

Jenny Par serves up a ball during the Lady Bulldogs’ win over Exeter on Friday. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

As of Monday, Wheaton was 4-0 in the conference, and the biggest match of the year for the team was against Golden City on Tuesday, also undefeated at the time.

“We are right where we want to be as far as the conference schedule,” Creekmore said. “We are currently 4-0 but we have our biggest tests still ahead with Golden City and College Heights. With the way we are currently playing, we feel very confident in our chances for another Ozark 7 championship.”

The result of the Golden City game, a de facto conference championship, was not available at presstime.

Looking toward the postseason, Creekmore said his team is equally as confident, especially having defeated all of its district opponents at one point or another this season. However, that does not mean the title is free.

“Really, the district is wide open,” he said. “If anyone gets hot at the right time it is anyone’s tournament. Right now, I expect Hurley, Billings and Crane to be the biggest hurdles to win the district title. We faced each of these teams in the regular season, and each one was a tough match but we managed to go 3-0 versus that group, so we are very excited about our chances.

“I feel that with the experience this group possesses, we have a great chance to compete on any given night. A district title is hard to win, and right now, that is our goal.”

Creekmore said it’s the team’s experience and chemistry that has led to the cascade of wins.

“Team chemistry and effort on the defensive side have been the biggest keys for us this year,” he said. “We returned six of seven varsity starters from last year’s team that was really just learning how to play as a unit. This year, they have really come together and are playing hard for each other.

“We honestly don’t have a lot of size at the net, so putting forth extra effort on the defensive side is crucial to our success.”

That togetherness of this year’s team has also led to some even performances across the board.

“I wouldn’t say one player in particular has exceeded my expectations, but just our improvement on the defensive side in general,” Creekmore said. “It really seems like they have bought into the idea that if we work as hard on defense as we do on offense, we can compete against any team in the area.”

Wheaton is the No. 1 seed in the Class 1, District 8 Tournament, earning a bye into the semifinals. The Lady Bulldogs will face the winner of No. 4 Crane and No. 5 Verona on Oct. 25 at 5:30 p.m. in Billings.

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