Young but talented.
That pretty much sums up the Boonville Lady Pirates volleyball team this season under head coach Morgan Sprigg.
With 17 girls suited out for the 2018 season, the Lady Pirates will return three starters and five letterwinners back from last year’s team which finished 13-12-2 overall and 6-4 in  the NCMC.
“We are young, but a talented team,” Sprigg said. “Even though we have three seniors this year, the rest of the girls are freshman and sophomores. These girls have a lot of potential, but also a lot to learn. They have been working together extremely well on the floor. What I like about this team is everyone can play just about anywhere, which can be very helpful. I know that if I am not satisfied with how things are going on the court I can switch things up and this group will not have any problem. I see us having a winning season, and I think that we will compete very well in districts hoping to win the district title.”
After a second place finish in the NCMC, Sprigg knows that moving to the Tri-County Conference this season could be a little tougher for the Lady Pirates. Sprigg said she doesn’t no where Boonville will fit into the TCC but added that Blair Oaks has had the better seasons throughout the year.
“I think that they will be a tough team to play,” Sprigg said. “California, Eldon, Versailles and Southern Boone are going to have good teams as well from the previous years that we have played them. They are all fundamentally sound and very aggressive on the floor. I think that this is a great fit for our team, but it will be a tougher conference. I am excited to see what it brings and I am ready to play some different teams.”
While time will tell whether the Lady Pirates are contenders or pretenders, Sprigg said the communication is the key to success for this season. She said if the Lady Pirates communicate on the floor, they shouldn’t have any problems.
“Communication is a huge part to our team and if we continue to talk on the floor like we do in practice it will enable them to become more successful,” Sprigg said. “We are growing as a team on the floor and I believe we will continue to do this if we keep communicating with one another.”
With a total of eight players seeing time on the court last year, Sprigg said she feels like this year’s team will be an aggressive team and one that can play anywhere on the floor. Sprigg said she hasn’t seen a group of girls like this in a long time and feels like this can lead to success.
“We play very well together as a team,” Sprigg said of another strength. “This group of girls has a lot of potential that can lead them to becoming more successful throughout the year. We can be very strong at the end and we have a lot of power behind our hitters. If our hitters want to be consistent there is no way of stopping the ball. Our defense is coming along and can be really good if we continue to communicate on the floor. We still have some things to work on before next week, but I believe this team has a lot of strengths that will lead to success.”
Although the Lady Pirates have many strengths this season, Sprigg said being a young team and developing team can also be weak assets. She said this group of girls have a lot of potential but need to grow mentally and physically to achieve their goals.
“With that being said, the more we work on things the better this team will be. This group can pick up on things very quickly, but they have to be consistent at it. Being consistent can be a weak asset as well because we are so young in areas.”
As for goals this season, Sprigg said she would like to see the team as conference champions as well as district champions and move on to the next level. She said she believes the conference is going to be harder than their districts.
“With it being a new conference it is going to be difficult as well knowing that the volleyball teams are good,” Sprigg said. “Communication, dedication and positive attitudes is another huge goal of ours. This is something that we stress every day on and off the floor which is something that is going to make our team more successful.”
The motto of the team is also fairly simple this season for the Lady Pirates, which is “Coming together is a beginning”.
Sprigg said keeping together is progress and working together is success.
“We like this motto because coming together is something we always state,” Sprigg said. “We like to see them come together on the floor after every play to keep their minds right. We believe that working together creates success and we cannot stress that enough as coaches. I see this being a great motto for this particular team because these girls are very close and work well together on the floor.”
If the Lady Pirates are going to succeed this season, Sprigg will look to three seniors, three sophomores and one freshman.
Of course who better to lead Boonville than seniors Lawren Luscombe and MJ Goff. While playing outside hitter and back row defense this season, Luscombe more than held her own in 2017 while finishing with 90 kills on 333 attack attempts with 128 service points with 34 aces, 45 digs and 20 blocks.
“Lawren is a captain for our team and has really stepped up on the floor this year,” Sprigg said. “I am extremely proud of her and what she has given to practice. I think that she will really step it up during games and be very aggressive. Her hitting has gotten more aggressive on the floor, allowing her to score a lot more.”
As for Goff, who will play libero this fall, she also returns after finishing the 2017 season with 247 digs and 19 service points with one ace.
Sprigg said Goff has also stepped it up on the floor these last couple of weeks to earn her the libero position.
“She does well communicating on the floor, allowing her to get passes to the setter so we can run an offense,” Sprigg said. “She is a very consistent passer for us and does well getting to the ball. She is also a captain for us this year, which I think is a great fit for her.”
Senior Breanna Smith, a transfer from Iowa, has also proven to be a good fit as a middle hitter and blocker. Sprigg said smith is extremely talented and this shows on the court.
“Her hits have become stronger over the last few weeks and she is connecting extremely well with our setters,” Sprigg said. “There is not much that gets past her when she is blocking. Once her and our setters get completely comfortable with one another there will be no stopping her hits. She was also selected captain for our team.”
As for the three sophomores, Sprigg will look to Jodie Bass to hit right side and play defense while Hana Cook will be a middle hitter and blocker. As for Kennedy Renfrow, Sprigg said she will play defense for the Lady Pirates this season.
Bass also posted some big numbers last year as a freshman with 130 digs. Cook, meanwhile, finished the season with 64 kills on 272 attack attempts with 44 service points with 15 aces, 14 blocks and 13 digs.
Sprigg said Bass will be playing all the way around this year. “Jodie has gotten stronger over the years and has become more talented on the floor,” Sprigg said. “She is one that can get to any ball and place it to the setter. She has also gotten stronger with her hitting and has really improved her power. As for Hana, she has gotten extremely strong over the last year and is improving by the minute. She is one of our stronger hitters and will score a lot for us this year. This is a new position for her, but she is taking it very well and showing her talent on the floor.”
As a defender, Sprigg said Renfrow has gotten so consistent with her passes over the last year and has really improved on the floor. She said Renfrow is one that can get to the ball and place it right to the setter which is what they need on the floor. “Kennedy is also a player that I can stick anywhere and she will do just fine,” Sprigg said.
As for the lone freshman, who will start this season, Sprigg said Addison Brownfield will be running the offense this year as a setter. She said Brownfield will also be hitting at the outside position.
“Addison is a very talented player and a leader on the floor,” Sprigg said. “As a freshman you do not see that very often. She has beautiful hands and does well with running the offense. She is one that can play at any position and will be successful. Her hitting is getting stronger over the last two weeks and she is consistent at the net which will score for us.”
Coming off the bench this season for Boonville are sophomores Sophi Waibel and Taylor Frederick. Sprigg said Waibel will be playing right side hitter while Frederick will be setting some for the Lady Pirates.
“Sophi has improved so much from last year and has become a very consistent hitter and blocker,” Sprigg said. “She is getting stronger and jumping higher which is going to help the success of our team. She is another player that can play all the way around if needed and is very aggressive on the court. As for Taylor, she has beautiful hands as well and knows how to run the offense. We are working on her communicating a little louder which will be very helpful in the offense. She is getting stronger which is going to allow her to develop great skills.”