The Boonville Lady Pirates volleyball team will be new in a lot of ways this season with a new coach and new system.
After finishing 12-11-1 overall and 4-3 in the Tri-County Conference in 2018, the Lady Pirates volleyball team will have an entirely different look with first-year head coach Hannah Ashley at the helm. Also gone are five starters off of last year’s team.
“There has been some changes this season, with new coaching staff and players graduating and not returning,” Ashley said. “Thankfully, we have depth in all positions to help replace the lost production but there will still be some of the youth that need to be overcome.”
Of the 24 girls suited out for the 2019 season, Ashley said only four are seniors while the rest are either juniors, sophomores and freshmen. Twelve freshmen will make up the team this season.
To overcome so much youth on the team this season, Ashley said Boonville will have to out-smart and out-compete their competitors. She said the girls have been conditioning to be able to test their limits to give their team more endurance than their competitors.
“We have some juniors that are very impactful players/teammates who have seen a lot of playing time and played a lot of different roles,” Ashley said. “Their experience is incredibly valuable. But at the same time, we are extremely young-only one returning starter-and 17 out of our 24 girls are underclassmen, but I believe that the skill level of those players will surprise people. We also do not have a whole lot of height compared to other schools, which is why we are conditioning to work on our endurance, vertical jumps and speed.”
As for the team goals this season, Ashley said the mind set is that each time the girls walk into the gym, gives them the opportunity to get better as a team and as an individual. She said what has been great is the effort that all the girls are giving. They are pushing themselves and their teammates to be the best, Ashley said, and by doing that that is allowing the girls to grow as a team.
“We are already seeing a lot of progress in a short amount of time," Ashley said. “So, what we are really excited about is not just setting goals but focusing on improving every day. If we do that, great things are in store for this season.”
Ashley also wants the team to live up to their motto this season, which is “Play hard, Play smart, Play together”. She said if they can do these three things, they can be the best they can against the teams they are going to see this season.
If the Lady Pirates are going to be successful this season, the play of junior Kennedy Renfrow as a defensive specialist will be key. While playing into a full-time role last year, Renfrow returns after leading the team with 195 digs along with 61 attack attempts with three kills and eight assists.
“With Kennedy’s experience in the back row, she will contribute a lot to the team,” Ashley said.
Senior Carson Dee also picked up some big time experience last year. While playing mostly on the JV team, Dee earned a spot on varsity by season’s end and finished with three digs and two attack attempts. And like Renfrow, Dee will be a defensive specialist for Boonville.
Other players that will be key members of the 2019 season for the Lady Pirates are senior setter Abby Reisinger, junior middle/outside hitter/setter Sophi Waibel and sophomore Nora Morris as an outside or middle hitter.
Like Renfrow and Dee, who picked up some valuable experience last season, Waibel also brings back some varsity experience from 2018. Waibel finished the season with 74 service points with 16 aces along with 47 digs, 38 kills on 222 attack attempts, 13 blocks and four assists.
Ashley said freshman Madison Smith has been a standout freshman who can be a flexible utility player whether it being a middle/outside hitter or a setter.
Other players who may see varsity time this season are seniors Gabi Webster and Lily Terrell, sophomores Hope Mesik and Lillian Rohrbach and freshmen Abby Fuemmeler, Genae Hodge and Alyssa Gross.