Fort Smith, Arkansas • Friday, August 3, 2001

Lady Lions Dive Into Drills

By Sonya Boisvert

Tired, sore and drenched in sweat. It’s all part of three-a-day practices this week for the Westark College volleyball team.
The Lady 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.
“I’ve 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 Sunday.
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.
Rounding 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 Brazilians.
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 match.
Sargent added that the rule change was made in an effort to speed up the game and make the game more appealing to spectators.
There 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.

front page | archive search | community calendar | special sections | digital coupons | advertise with us | subscribe | career opportunities | contact us |