By Chris Parker
Republic will look to climb back towards .500 this year coming off of a 12-win season, but the Lady Tigers will have to do it without any returning all-conference players. Both players in Eryn Russell and Bella Drennan contributed in the setting and defensive game for Republic.
What head coach Piper Wright does have back is four of Republic’s top six hitters in juniors Rylee Moseman (151 kills) , Reese Watkins (86 kills), Carle Ward (29 kills) and Emma Pierce (84 kills). Moseman, Watkins and Pearce all outside hitters while Ward is a middle hitter.
“We still have a strong group of returners who have plenty of varsity experience,” Wright said. “Our attackers are not very big, but they work really hard to earn points.”
Abby McKee, another junior, will also be a big contributor to the offensive game as a middle hitter.
Republic will look to find new faces to step up in the serve-receive and setting game. The Lady Tigers graduated all but 20 of last season’s 615 assists along with their top two players in digs and No. 1 serve-receive option.
“Our goal is always to strive to be a championship program,” Wright said. “One that works hard and gives 100% effort. We always have high expectations for ourselves when it comes to competing in our conference and the postseason.”
Republic will travel to Parkview on Aug. 21 for a jamboree with the host Lady Vikings along with Fair Grove and Rogersville. The Lady Tigers open the season on Aug. 25 at the Branson Invitational.