Boonville spikers set sights on winning season with hard work

Chris Bowie
BOONVILLE VOLLEYBALL TEAM (front row, left to right) Abby Fuemmeler, Addy Nichols, Kylee Turner, Ava Esser, Cassidy Bishop, Addie Hubach and Kinley Fox. (second row, left to right) Ava Parman, Claire Witting, Ashlen Homan, Kennedy Renfrow, Sophi Waibel, Jodie Bass, Hope Mesik, Molly Schuster and Heather Hall. (back row, left to right)Alyssa Gross, Peyton Luscombe, Lillian Rohrbach, coach Brittney Lowe, head coach Dina Herzog, coach Joedi Herzog, Nora Morris, Addison Brownfield, Genae Hodge and Twelva Mason.

The Boonville Lady Pirates volleyball team will have its work cut out for the 2020 season.

After finishing 2-23-1 overall and 0-7 in the Tri-County Conference in 2019, the Lady Pirates looked no further than one former coach and two former players to lead the team into battle in 2020.

With Dina Herzog returning as head coach to lead the Lady Pirates and daughters, Joedi Herzog and Brittney Lowe, back as assistant coaches, it’s safe to say that Boonville is in good hands not only for this season but for future seasons as well.

Twenty-four girls will make up the team this season, four of which are returning starters.

Herzog said the Lady Pirates will focus more on the process and do things correctly-not so much the outcome. “The development of each player as a whole is most important,” Herzog said. “I want to emphasize the player-team performance and learn from that. A win isn’t always a success and there are so many gains and improvements learned from a loss.”

Unfortunately, the Lady Pirates had their share of losses last year in a trying season. But that is in the past and Herzog said the motto for the season fits with what the team wants to do. She said her motto for the team is: “What we do with what we have, measures who we are.” She said when the team works hard, good things will happen.

Herzog would also like to get back the love of the game. With four of the six starters returning from last year, Herzog said she will teach teamwork, cooperation and improve the volleyball skills. “Most importantly I need to develop competitive players who will strive to achieve both as a team and personally,” Herzog said.

It won’t be easy, especially with a conference loaded with talent from top to bottom. Although the Lady Pirates finished 0-7 in the Tri-County Conference, Herzog said she feels the team will win some and lose some in 2020, but they will be successful.

Herzog said Blair Oaks and California are always good with large numbers to choose from and competitive programs are available at a young age. She said Eldon was very active all season hosting camps.

“The key for us is that we have to stay healthy and we must be safe, so we can practice, improve and play,” Herzog said.

Of course who better to lead the program than senior Kennedy Renfrow, who returns for her fourth season at libero. While earning all-district honors last year, Renfrow finished the 2019 season with a team-leading 307 digs along with 16 kills on 109 attack attempts, four aces and two assists.

Herzog said Renfrow is a great role model. “Kennedy’s hard work, dedication and confidence have made her a great defensive player,” Herzog said. “Her aggressive play on the court elevates the play of those around her.”

Junior Nora Morris also returns for her third season for the Lady Pirates. While playing both outside hitter and setter, Herzog said Morris will be taking on a new role this year as the team’s setter. “As she becomes more consistent with our hitters, she will be unstoppable,” Herzog said. “She continues to be a high percentage hitter, so she will run the offense or be a huge part of it.”

Another junior that saw quite a bit of playing time last year was Lillian Rohrbach, who will play both outside hitter and right side hitter. Herzog said Rohrbach can do it all. “Lillian can play front row or back and has many great qualities,” Herzog said. “I feel confident Lillan will assist in several areas.”

The future also looks bright with a pair of sophomores-Madison Smith and Genae Hodge-who saw quite a bit of playing time last year as freshman. Herzog said both players will play both middle hitter and right side hitter for the Lady Pirates.

“Madison is passionate about the sport,” Herzog said. “She works hard and will be an offensive threat. She has developed an aggressive serve. We will continue to work on her blocking, but right now she is so close to owning the net. As for Genae, she has really stepped up these first few weeks of practice. Every time I think I know where she needs to play, she surpasses me with something else. I know she will help us out in the front row. She has a strong serve also.”

Also seeing quite a bit of playing time last year was junior Hope Mesik. In her third season in volleyball, Herzog said Mesik will help on the back row with her defensive skills. “Faith’s service-receive continues to improve. She will add enthusiasm to our team play,” Herzog said.

Other players that will contribute greatly to the team this season are seniors Jodie Bass and Sophi Waibel, and juniors Addison Brownfield and Peyton Luscombe.

Bass, a three-sport athlete at Boonville, will play middle hitter for the Lady Pirates. Herzog said Bass will bring a lot to the team offensively. “I am very happy how she has embraced each part of the game and continues to get better,” Herzog said.

Waibel also returns for her third season and will play both middle hitter and right side hitter. Herzog said Waibel works hard and is learning new concepts as a senior. “Sophi is willing to try new positions and is making adjustments to better her front row play,” Herzog said. “She jumps well and her commitment continues to show improvement in her day to day success.”

Brownfield also returns after a one-year hiatus. While starting varsity as a freshman as a setter, Herzog said Brownfield will play both setter and outside hitter this season.

“Addison will be a team leader,” Herzog said. “Her confidence and enthusiasm allows her to run the show. She, too, was asked to set the ball and has accepted willingly and said, “whatever the team needs.” Her unselfishness is what all coaches like. We just need her to stay healthy.”

Luscombe returns for her third season in volleyball. While playing right side hitter this season, Herzog said Luscombe’s desire to do well will aloow her to succeed. “Payton’s continues to work on her transition on and off the net and as her quick arm swing develops, her offensive improves,” Herzog said.