By Dana Harding
The Webb City girls look to rebound in 2016-17 after falling short of last season’s goals.
Third-year coach Lance Robbins believes the challenges faced during last season’s 11-15 campaign will pay of in the form of a more experienced and disciplined roster.
“We finished 11-15 on the season and feel like we underachieved a little it,” Robbins said. “We had several girls that gained valuable playing experience and believe it will be a benefit to us this season.”
First up for Robbins will be replacing a talented group of departing seniors.
Kaylee Beres, Lindey Kneib, Lexey Kneib and Kady Crane have all graduated, and Webb City will have some new faces in the lineup.
The Lady Cardinals return a pair of starters in juniors Cami Roy and Addie Darby. Shorter will look to both for leadership and scoring – Darby from the perimeter and Roy slashing into the lane.
Webb City’s impact newcomers include a talented group of four juniors and three sophomores.
Robbins’ junior class includes match-up nightmare Hannah Woodstock, lock-down defender Kaylee Cristy, anchor in the middle Amy Morris and the athletic Sydney Dixon.
The trio of sophomores includes 3-pt shooter Madeline Hayes, post player Abby Brownfield and guard Ali VanZant.
Robbins points to this group’s chemistry and positive outlook as major strengths for the team moving into the season and is looking forward to watching that chemistry develop further.
“We are excited about the group we have this season,” Robbins said. “They were freshmen when we took over the program. They understand our expectations and the culture we are trying to build. The positive attitude and team cohesiveness they have developed is definitely our biggest asset.”
If the Lady Cardinals are to make a run at a tough district that includes Class 4 state quarterfinalist Carl Junction, Aurora, Monett, Cassville and McDonald County, they’ll do so with the benefit of a difficult schedule.
The always-competitive Central Ozarks Conference Large Division will certainly prepare Webb City with difficult matchups against Branson, Nixa, Ozark and Republic, among others.
In addition, Webb City’s non-conference tilt this season includes games against East Newton, Fair Grove and Class 2 3rd place finisher Skyline.
“Our conference will be solid from top to bottom again this year,” Robbins said. “It may be the most competitive it has been in the last few years. We look forward to the challenge of competing night in and night out.”
Webb City hosts Carl Junction, Mt. Vernon and McDonald County for jamboree play on Nov. 17. The Lady Cardinals tip-off in the regular season Nov. 22 against East Newton.