By Chris Parker
Monett volleyball is on the rise in the Big 8 conference under second-year head coach Courtney Popanz. Two years ago the Lady Cubs won just two games. That number improved to six last year.
Randi Prock returns to lead the Lady Cubs in her senior season as a middle hitter. She was the lone all-conference selection for Monett last season.
“Our team looks to Randi for drive,” Popanz said. “They feed off of her on the court and will look to her to hold her ground for big, momentum changing plays. My expectations for her is the exact same, as every player (to) give 100% every day and leave everything on the court.”
Junior Alex Sparkman will join Prock as a hitter this year. Kaylee Davis will be tasked with setting duties in her senior season.
Monett will be in the new Big 8 West this season, but the new conference alignment is not of too much concern for Popanz.
“Every game and every practice is a challenge,” Popanz said. “There is always room for improvement for any team and that challenge is what makes the game fun.”
Continued improvement is the biggest goal this season for the Lady Cubs.
“We continue to practice as hard as possible and this program will continue to grow,” Popanz said. “As we build confidence, I have no doubt that this program is headed in the right direction thanks to the dedication of its athletes. We will continue to set goals and hit them.”
One of those goals is advancing in the district tournament.
“As we continue to build this program, one huge goal for this team is to win a district game. You have to start somewhere and this is where we will start,” Popanz said.