Who will be the most improved high school volleyball team in the area? For the record it will Galena. Head coach Cory White, and his assistants Tara Bailey and Bekah Murphy, in their first season at Galena last year took over a team that was depleted of experience and numbers. Galena won some sets last year, but came out on the losing end of every match. This year the Lady Bulldogs have 20 players out.
"Even though we were shutout last year, we won some in the summer Joplin team camp," Coach White said. "The girls are really excited. We have girls that took their lumps the last couple of years. They have gained experience, and we are ready to turn our program around."
Four starters return, seniors Davin Downey and Jodie Howard, and juniors Briley Krouse and Adyson DeCoaq. Senior very athletic Madyson Cox hasn’t played since middle school, but will fit into the starting rotation. Juniors Haley Pence and Kyndra Clifford, and sophomores Taehler Watkins, Kaila Ishman, Lexi Price, and Tabitha Boyd saw varsity action last year.
Coach Rebecca Lipasek in her first season in Riverton, along with assistant Jessica Tabor, guided the Lady Rams to a 36-4 record.
"Even though we beat Erie twice in the middle of the season, we lost two to them in the first match of the season, then we lost to them at the end in the most important regional’s," said Coach Lipasek. "We won three tournaments at Oswego, Uniontown, and at Colgan."
The Lady Rams return only one senior. First team CNC League 5’7” setter/outside hitter Kellyn Lipasek. Junior Danielle Weaver, 5’3” outside/hitter/Libero received Honorable Mention in the CNC. Classmates 5’7” Camryn Compton and 5’8” Zoey Mitchell also return as starters as outside hitters. As defensive specialists, both at 5’4”, are seniors Cheyenne Turner and Taygun Higenbotham. Additional juniors are outside hitters 5’4” Madison Strup and 5’7” Emma Scantlin. At 5’9” sophomore Emma Berry is scheduled as an inside hitter.
Head Coach Jana Hickman has a full squad of Lady Titans this year, with 18 on her varsity/junior varsity roster, plus an additional five more freshmen. Seniors Hannah Cook, Bre Synder, and Riley Haraughty will be leading the young team. Assistant Coaches are Malarie Studebaker and Tera Spear.
With 25 out for Baxter Springs the Lady Lions will be helped by second team CNC junior 5’11” Delaney Barnes, Honorable Mention seniors 5’9”outside hitter Kassisty Shafer and Libero 5’4” Bridgett Dewey. Third year head coach Alayna Von Moss and new assistants Angie Bennett Kemp and Hanna Hull also have senior leadership in outside/inside hitter 5’7” Hanna Draper.
Rounding out this year’s squad with experience are juniors defensive specialists 5’3” Delainy Anderson and 5‘7“ Averi Wilson, middle hitter 5’9” Autumn Holstrom, and 5’5” sophomore outside hitter Wilson Asquith. Middle hitter Kennedy Krokroskia at 5’6” started last year as a freshman. Sophomore classmate 5’7” defensive specialist Brylee Rice also returns. Expecting to see varsity action this year are freshmen setter 5’7” Brooklyn Geisel, and transfer from Carl Junction 5’7’ setter Allison Rion.
The Lady Lions are scheduled to start the season at home Tuesday, Aug. 28, in a triangular meet with Oswego and Liberal, Missouri, with the varsity/junior varsity. They then play in a varsity quad meet on Thursday at Erie, with Riverton and Southeast Cherokee. On Sept. 4 in Riverton, Baxter Springs and Erie square off in a varsity/junior varsity match. Galena starts on Aug. 28 in triangular varsity “C” team at Frontenac with Neodesha. They play the next night in a varsity/junior varsity triangular hosting Chetopa and Northeast-Arma. The Lady Bulldogs play again Sept. 4, hosting Columbus and Northeast. The Columbus junior varsity have a triangular meet on Aug. 28, and the varsity squad opens their season with a triangular meet with Cherryvale and Neodesha, in Neodesha on Aug. 30.