By Chris Parker
Carthage was a young team in 2017, but that didn’t matter for coach Tony Allmoslecher’s squad. The Lady Tigers fought through a tough schedule to a 23-9-1 record and a No. 1 seed in the district.
Carl Junction ended Carthage’s run at a district champion by beating the Lady Tigers 25-18, 25-22 in district title game. That loss has provided motivation for a Carthage roster that returns every player this season.
“We felt like we should have won a district championship last year, but to CJ’s (Carl Junction’s) credit they played a tremendous game and we didn’t play our best game,” Allmoslecher said. “We have talked about that all year. That we need to go back and we need to know that we have to play tough every single game.”
That group is led by first-team all-conference junior Alexa Boyle. Boyle led the Lady Tigers with 302 kills last season. She was second on the team with 181 digs.
“Our expectations are really high (for Boyle) and she carries those same high expectations for herself,” Allmoslecher said. “That is probably why she has excelled so much.”
Ava Petticrew, Jaxsyn Anderson, Paige Schrader, Abbey Ling and Alexis Black all return as well after each put down double-digit kills. Petticrew (173) and Anderson (129) reached triple-digits in kills. Carthage will also welcome back A.C. Crockford at middle hitter after she missed last year due to an Achilles injury.
The attack will be keyed by senior Gracie Fagg who accounted for 659 of Carthage’s 702 assists last season.
“She is solid as rock. She has been that way ever since I have known her,” Allmoslecher said. “She is very consistent, so the hitters know where Gracie is going to put the ball. She works well with our hitters. Having her run the offense is awesome.”
Third-team all-conference returner Jillian Brunnert will anchor the back row at libero. She had 253 digs and 298 serve-receives, which were both team-highs.
“She (Brunnert) passes well, serve-receives well and plays great backrow defense for us. She has really taken control of our serve-receive game. Having her back there makes things easier for us,” Allmoslecher said.
Allmoslecher hopes all the experience gained last season will pay off with a deep playoff run this season.
“Hopefully this year the experience will help us quite a bit. Most of the girls played club ball. We have had a great summer with lots of games,” Allmoslecher said. “We are in a tough conference. We have to be able to compete with those type of schools. That is where we set our sights at. That is where we are aiming.”
Carthage opens the season on Aug. 25 at the Branson Invitational.