Lady Dragons return all six starters, look to improve on season record

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
Bunceton volleyball team (front row, left to right) Madison Brown, Laney Heilman, Alexia Hein, Bella Vaca and Kylee Myers. (back row, left to right) Kelcy Mullett, Haleigh Gerke, Piper Merrill, Hailey Milne and head coach Christin Rutledge. Not pictured are Savanna Tracy, Aubree Hedgpeth and Hannah Empie.

Bunceton volleyball coach Christin Rutledge realizes the task at hand for the Lady Dragons in 2021.

With 11 girls suited out for the upcoming season, six of which are returning starters, Rutledge said the Lady Dragons have a positive outlook and are ready to start the season. “We are hoping to improve our game and pick up a few wins,” Rutledge said. “The key to the season is keeping a positive mindset and working hard.”

With only three seniors making up the team this season for the Lady Dragons (Alexia Hein, Bella Vaca and Savanna Tracy), Rutledge will have to rely on a number of upperclassmen to step in to fill out the lineup. Bunceton will have five juniors in Madison Brown, Laney Heilman, Kylee Myers, Hailey Milne and Aubree Hedgpeth to help lead a talented senior group along with one sophomore in Kelcy Mullett and three freshmen in Haleigh Gerke, Piper Merrill and Hannah Empie.

Rutledge said the Lady Dragons have been working hard in practice to improve their passing skills. She said as practice continues, the girls will work at putting their game together.

“Right now, the strength of our team is our returning players,” Rutledge said. “Their experience and positive encouragement to the new girls will be a great benefit to us. However, the weakness for the team is that our volleyball program doesn’t start until their freshman year. Therefore, all of our players start at a beginners level and play teams that have much more experience.”

As for the goals of the team this season, Rutledge said it’s to stay positive throughout the season and improve on their record.

The Lady Dragons volleyball team will open the 2021 season on the road against La Monte on September 1, starting at 6 p.m.

2021 Bunceton Volleyball Schedule

Sept. 1-at La Monte, 6 p.m.

Sept. 7-at Sacred Heart, 6 p.m.

Sept. 11-Columbia Independent Tournament, TBA.

Sept. 14-at Russellville, 6 p.m.

Sept. 16-at Calvary Lutheran, 6 p.m.

Sept. 21-TIPTON, 6 p.m.

Sept. 22-COLUMBIA INDEPENDENT, 6 p.m.

Sept. 27-at Kingsville, 6 p.m.

Sept. 28-MO. SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF, 6 p.m.

Sept. 30-CHILHOWEE, 6 p.m.

Oct. 4-LINCOLN, 6 p.m.

Oct. 5-OTTERVILLE, 6 p.m.