By Chris Parker
Reeds Spring enters the Big 8 East coming off of a 10-16 season in 2017. Molly Illum returns for her second season as the head coach of the Lady Wolves and must replace a strong four-player senior class.
“Their absence will definitely be felt on the court,” Illum said. “They had played together for many years and were a tough, hard-working group of girls. They were a very coachable group and had an intense internal fight and desire. They were great leaders for the program.”
The Lady Wolves have a strong starting point in replacing that leadership with all-conference hitter Carley Reeves-Eakins returning as a middle hitter.
“She is a great player and adds a lot to our offense,” Illum said. “She is a versatile player and we will be able to use her in a variety of positions offensively and defensively.”
Reeves-Eakins is coming off of a basketball injury that prevented her from playing club volleyball, but Illum expects her to be ready to go for the fall.
Senior Kalena Asbill will be another focal point for the varsity squad at setter.
“(She) provides an amazing work ethic on the court and in the weight room,” Illum said. “She is a go-getter and makes our team so much better when she’s on the court.”
Kamryn Hopper is a libero and solid defensive player for the Lady Wolves. Kyndall Porter, also a senior, returns after seeing time on varsity last year. Porter along with sophomore newcomer Bella Fuller could split time with Asbill at setter. Senior Paris Stice will also see time as a libero and defensive specialist.
The COC Small is no more, but the Big 8 East will have a familiar feel for the Lady Wolves with Hollister, Marshfield, Rogersville and Catholic in the division. Aurora and Mt. Vernon round out the East Division.
“It’s an exciting time to experience this new conference,” Illum said. “We played all of the conference teams last year, but the schedule of when and where is different. The conference crossover match will be interesting and exciting.”
Reeds Spring opens the season on Aug. 25 at the Branson Invitational.