Lady Lions Dive Into
By Sonya Boisvert
TIMES RECORD • SBOISVERT@SWTIMES.COM
Tired, sore and drenched in sweat. It’s all part of three-a-day
practices this week for the Westark College volleyball team.
Lions got back into the swing of things for the second straight day
Thursday in preparation for a new season, which begins in less than four
weeks. And even though it’s too early to tell just how far this team will
go, fourth-year head coach Jane Sargent can sense the excitement.
got so many girls on this team that have that ‘don’t want to lose’
attitude,” Sargent said. “In fact, I had to get onto them last night
because they were a little too intense. They were getting frustrated with
themselves, and it was only the first day.”
The team will practice two
hours in the morning, one hour in the afternoon and two more hours at
night until classes start Aug. 20, Sargent said. Westark will scrimmage
John Brown University Aug. 18 before opening the season Aug. 27 at home
against Labette (Kan.) Community College.
The Lady Lions finished 27-11
a year ago and have reached the finals of the Region II Tournament every
year since the program began in 1998.
Five players return from last
year, including starters Mandy Gray of Alma and Megan Kahl of Mena. Terra
Turbyfill, Tracy Buie and Erin Chronister (a walk-on) also return for
their final season.
Turbyfill, a 6-foot outside hitter from Mena, has
missed the first two days of practice after having an emergency
appendectomy last week. She is scheduled to begin practicing
Seven new faces will wear the blue and white this season,
including former Southside players Emily Whiteley and Audra Sonnier.
Whiteley, a 5-foot-9 middle hitter, had 412 kills as a senior last year as
she led the Lady Rebels to the Class AAAAA state championship. Sonnier, a
4-foot-10 defensive specialist, joins the squad as a walk-on.
out the first-year players are Wendy Brandtly of Mena, Julia Graham of
Wichita Falls, Texas, Autumn Summer of Springtown, Texas, and Crystal
Goodner of Norman, Okla.
Paula Castro, a sophomore from Rio de
Janiero, Brazil, also is in her first year with the team. Castro was a
member of the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M team that defeated Westark
three times last season and eliminated the Lady Lions in the regional
tournament. NEO released the 5-foot-7 Castro after bringing in two more
Sargent said the team has had to work through a little
rust, but said overall, everyone is performing well.
While the freshman
become accustomed to the college level, everyone also will adjust to a
couple of rule changes. This year, all the games will be a rally score
format, with the first four games being played to 30 points and the fifth
and deciding game to 15.
In rally scoring, a point is scored on every
play regardless of who holds the serve.
With the first four games being
played to 30, Sargent said strategies still will be utilized during the
Sargent added that the rule change was made in an effort to
speed up the game and make the game more appealing to spectators.
also will be a change with serving. A serve that hits the net and falls
over will be playable. The rule was optional a year ago.