By Chris Parker
Bolivar posted a 24-win season last year on the strength graduated all-state hitter Anna Wolf and first-team all-conference hitter Hope White. In sum, Bolivar graduated its top five players in kills from coach Krystal Allen’s first four-year senior class.
“Those girls were the first group to play all four years for me,” Allen, who is entering her fifth season as head coach, said. “They helped create the culture and set the bar high. I’ll miss everything about them. They are dominant players with incredibly competitive drives. They played for blood every time they stepped on the court.”
Emma Larimore will be one of the leaders as she returns to her libero spot. She led the team in digs (279) and serve-receives (548). She committed just 39 errors in those 548 opportunities.
“Emma is impactful in so many ways. She is the quickest player I have ever coached and has great intuition and reading capabilities,” Allen said. “She is incredibly consistent and has solid technique. She works hard every time she steps on the court, pushing herself and everyone around her to play their best. She is also a very positive and encouraging leader to everyone around her.”
Corinne Ames and Elli Burns will be the senior leaders for this year’s squad.
“Corinne’s confidence has sky rocketed this summer and continues to grow. This goes for Elli Burns as well, my other senior. They know they are stepping into a prominent leadership roles and are ready to take the reins,” Allen said. “Corinne has become a verbal and emotional leader on the court while Elli leads with power and competitiveness. My expectations are for them to use this confidence to lead this newly built varsity team to mental and emotional strength and instill strong work ethics and commitment.”
Burns saw time in 70 sets last year and is the leading returner in kills with 39.
Lily Shepard returns for her junior season at outside hitter. Trinity Williamson is a sophomore that will see time at middle hitter.
Hallie Tucker will be a key piece at setter in her sophomore season as Bolivar looks to replace the 495 assists Tara Brooks took with her at graduation.
“She is about 5’10 and has beautiful hands,” Allen said. “She has done nothing but improve and become smarter each day. We are excited about her future in the program as her potential is through the roof.”
Bolivar is entering its first season without a conference and playing as an independent school. The change didn’t present too many challenges for scheduling as Allen says the Lady Liberators have a full and competitive schedule. The only thing they will be missing is a shot at postseason conference honors.
The Lady Liberators will look to mesh the new varsity players together with an eye on a strong run in district play.
“After graduating five seniors who have played varsity for the last three years, we are filling a brand new team,” Allen said. “These girls are hungry to make their own mark in history and have fun doing it. I expect this team to be hungry to work hard and improve every time they step on the court. I saw them do great things at camp this summer and I expect them to do nothing but improve and build.”
Bolivar opens the season on Aug. 28 at home against Osceola.