By Josh Hall (email@example.com)
The Fordland High School volleyball team is looking towards the future.
But the Eagles haven’t forgotten about their past. And they use it as motivation going in to the 2017 campaign.
If all goes according to plan, Fordland will exceed last year’s record of 11-11-3 that ended with a loss to Billings in a Class 1, District 6 semifinal and the Eagles will come away with a district championship.
That is what they are shooting for.
“If we’re having a bad day, they’re like hey, ‘if this is what we want to do, we have to step it up right now,’” coach Laurel Durst said. “It’s definitely been something in the back of their heads, probably since the day our season ended last year.”
After losing a senior-laden class in two years ago, the Eagles return everyone from 2016.
The Fordland seniors, who were freshmen in 2014 when Durst took over the program, have played for two district titles and have come up short twice.
“My expectations are pretty high,” Durst said. “I think the girls’ expectations are really high. They’re wanting to redeem themselves this year since we’ve got more experience under our belts now.”
Junior Sophie Sparks, now in her third year as starting libero, will lead the way for Fordland this season.
As a sophomore, Sparks had 458 digs (8.2 per set and 18.3 per match), ranking her 11th in Missouri on MaxPreps.
“She’s phenomenal,” Durst said. “I don’t even know how to describe her. She can do everything. She’s a great athlete.”
Junior setter Emily Whiteford, senior outside Lexie Stoll, senior middle Danielle Bailey and sophomore outside hitter Abi Southard got most of the reps last season for the Eagles.
Freshman right side Mahalia Burks, sophomore middle Kenzie Branson, freshman defensive specialist Gracie Trotter and senior defensive specialist Autum Johnson are all expected to see time at the varsity level this season.