With only two returning starters  for the upcoming 2018 season, Boonville Lady Pirates volleyball coach Morgan Sprigg knew the season was going to be a rebuilding year.
However after picking up a player during the summer in 6-1 senior Breanna Smith, Sprigg went from trying the keep the team’s head above water during the season to finishing in the top half of the conference in the Tri-County Conference.
As it turned out, the Lady Pirates finished 12-11-1 overall and 4-3 in the TCC tied with School of the Osage.
Here is a question and answer with Coach Sprigg on the 2018 season:
Q: What are your thoughts on the 2018 season?
A: We had our ups and downs this season. My goal was to be over .500 and that is where we landed. I knew that our team was going to be young this year. We had a huge access that welcomed our team as a senior which I was super excited and I knew she would be great for our team. The rest of the team was young and they still have a lot to learn. We had some obstacles throughout the season, which caused us to switch some things up, but the girls did great with these changes and played well together. I had one freshman that showed some excellent talent and landed a spot on the team, and that is what we as a team needed. We had our struggles at the beginning and middle of the season due to lack of communication and playing as a team on the floor. We managed to push through and not let these problems keep us down. It was a bit of a rollercoaster season for us, but I will say that this team for the most part did not give up. There were some girls on this team that had that fire in their eyes and did not want to lose. These are the type of girls that make your team so great. I am excited to have some of them back for next year’s season.
Q: What were your thoughts on the Tri-County Conference this season? Was it pretty even across the board?
A: The TCC was a new conference for us this year and I knew getting into it was going to be tough for girls volleyball, but I was excited for something new. Blair Oaks, California, Southern Boone and Osage are your strong and solid teams in the TCC.
The other teams seemed to be down this year, but they have gerat programs and I can see them being just as strong in the years to come.  I think that we are a great fit to this conference and we tied for third place with Osage.
I think placing third for our first year is pretty solid considering some of the teams were finishing with many more wins that we did. Like I said, I am excited to see what this conference brings in the next years and I think it is a great fit for our volleyball team.
Q: You finished one game over .500 for the season. Is this about where you thought this team would be?
A: Yes this is where I saw our team being this year. I knew that we had some returning but we were still young for the most part. I thought we could have had a couple more wins, but for the most part my goal was to see us over .500. I would have like to see the girls win more this season and I think they had the potential to, but with the way we started off and the tough teams that we played in the first two weeks, I knew it was going to be hard to get there.
Q: What did you feel like the biggest obstacle with the team was this season?
A: I think the biggest obstacle this season was communication and teamwork on the floor, which led to us not being consistent. There were times that we did an outstanding job with both of those on the floor and there were a lot of times that we didn’t. Communication is the key to volleyball and we struggled with that on and off the floor. When I say teamwork I mean us not playing together as a team. There were times that some of us wanted to be out there on the floor and there were others on the floor that seemed like they did not want to be out there. We struggled with that and fighting too late in the game. Consistency is another key to the game we did struggle with that this year.
Q: What did you feel like this team exceeded well in during matches?
A: I thought that this team did well at not falling apart on the floor. Don’t get me wrong there were times that we played down to another team's level or we beat ourselves, but this team was one that did not have attitude on the floor and did not get down, they fought till the end. I cannot say that about some of my other teams, this was a team that I did not see any attitude or emotions on the floor. Most of them were in there to fight, we may not have gotten the winning outcome but they did not let down. Another thing that we did well at was our defense. We passed the ball extremely well and that was one of our strengths.
Q: In the district semis, the team struggled finishing against Southern Boone. Was this the same occurring problem all season?
A: We beat ourselves that match. We played extremely well during the first set and I thought to myself we had that game. We came out slow the second set and made some little mistakes that we can't afford against a good team like them. We had trouble scoring and I did see that in some of the other matches that we played. I wouldn't say this was an occurring problem, but I did see it some and at this level you cannot do that. There were games that we played extremely well during the first set and then blew during the second set. I cannot wrap my head around how we do that, it is frustrating as a coach to see that and know your girls can win.
Q: What do you feel like the highlights of the season were and comment?
A: I feel that some of the highlights this season were our games against Calvary Lutheran at their place and Eldon here at home. Those were probably two of our best matches we played all season. We offensively and defensively played together as a team and were unstoppable. We did all the right things during those matches and played like we knew how to play. The potential that we had was unreal, but we had a hard time playing to that potential every match.
Q: What do you feel like the low points of the season were and comment?
A: Some of the low points of this season was losing those first four tough games. We did not play well against either of those teams and I feel part of it was intimidation but also trying to get things figured out on the floor. Again, we were young and trying to work together as a team. Like I have said, we struggled with the second and third set and at this level you cannot do that. We have to be consistent on the floor at all times.
Q: You lose three starting seniors (Breanna Smith, Lawren Luscombe, and MJ Goff) but you return Sophie Waibel, Kennedy Renfrow, Jodie Bass, Hana Cook, and Addison Brownfield. What does the 2019 season look like for the Boonville Lady Pirates volleyball team?
A: Those seniors and leadership are going to be missed next year. But with these four main assets to our team that are returning it is going to be big for us. With a handful of those juniors and sophomores, I hope to see them lead the floor.  With Jodie’s and Kennedy’s defense and Hana’s, Sophie’s and Addison’s offense I could see the season being a winning one for us. With having such a young bench, we still have lots to learn but these young girls are smart and they do what I ask and that is what I need. They are a very coachable group and I couldn’t ask for anything better. I think with having a team like we will next year, we could be quick and accomplish a lot on the floor. I am excited to see what next year brings.”