By Chris Parker
Parkview volleyball won 10 matches last season and will be led by one of the area’s best all-around athletes in senior Paiton Acord.
Acord, who is also a basketball and track standout, was named to the second-team all-conference volleyball team last year. She led Parkview in kills (230), aces (24) and digs (196) last season.
“Some kids are gifted with an ability to be a great athlete no matter what position they’re in or what sport they play and that is Paiton,” fifth-year head coach Allison Davis said. “She works hard, she’s competitive, determined, and wants to be pushed every day in practice to be better. My expectations for Paiton this year is to be a dominant player in our conference as well as our district. She’s stronger, smarter and more determined. Paiton will continue to be a six-rotation player this season and either hit outside or middle.”
Acord will combine with fellow senior Gracie Wedgworth to form a devastating attack. Wedgeworth, who was named honorable mention all-conference last year, accounted for 404 of Parkview’s 431 total assists in 2017.
“Gracie has been such a strong player since her freshman year. She started as a freshman in the setter position with no or little experience, but prevailed awesomely and has worked extremely hard to become a more experienced and smarter setter for her team,” Davis said. “Every coach wants their setter in control, and when Gracie is on the floor, she is in control and does a great job running the floor. She demands communication from her hitters. This year I’m hoping to get Gracie to hit more by possibly adding another setter to our rotation.”
Seniors Emma Boyd (middle/right side hitter), Kristen Klein (right side hitter) and D’Alize Johnson (defensive specialist) all return this season. Boyd has started since her sophomore season and Klein since her freshman year.
Juniors Alexa Morelock (outside hitter) and Caylee Fox (defensive specialist) along with sophomore Janea Johnson (middle hitter) bring back one of the most experienced teams in Davis’s tenure.
Ella Werner-Click (junior setter), Madison Hogan (junior defensive specialist) and Mikaela Whalen (sophomore outside/right side hitter) are some other players that should see time on the varsity level.
The wealth of experience returning has Parkview volleyball aiming for big things in 2018.
“Every year I’ve been at Parkview, we’ve always wanted to improve, and to achieve the goals we set for our team each season. Last year we accomplished a lot of ‘firsts’ that we are extremely proud of,” Davis said. “Obviously, with the experience we have on our team this year and the hard work these girls have put in, we want to be more respected in the Ozark Conference and we know that means we need to ‘show out and show up.’ I’ve always believed in our volleyball program no matter what our record was or how we finished our seasons, but this year I believe this Parkview Volleyball team is eager to make their mark.”
Parkview opens the season on Aug. 28 on the road at former Ozark Conference rival Joplin.