By Chris Parker
Camdenton will have to replace a strong five-player senior class coming off of an 11-win season. That included second-team all-conference setter Abbie Miller and honorable mention all-conference defensive specialist Grace Wormek.
“Last year’s seniors were competitors and knew how to win,” seventh-year head coach Austin Walker said. “They were hard workers whose legacy will always be remembered. We will miss their athleticism.”
Camdenton does return one of its most athletic players in first-team all-conference outside hitter Natalie Basham. Basham, who is also a multi-time state champion on the track, led the team with 228 kills last season.
“Natalie is going to be looked upon to get the job done. She is a dynamic athlete that has greatly improved in the offseason with a very successful club season,” Walker said. “My expectation for Natalie is to be a leader that wants to get the job done and the person who we can trust to get that job done.”
The Lady Lakers return just 10 of 528 assists from last season. Camdenton will run a 6-2 with senior Lizzie Miller and sophomore Sydney Smith setting up the offensive attack. Junior Clare Holmes is also taking reps at setter.
“Lizzie is a leader that the other kids gravitate to and Sydney has probably the best volleyball IQ of any one of our players,” Walker said. “Clare played a very good club schedule this past spring and grew as a player on the court tremendously.”
Megan Vest was fourth on the team in kills last year as a junior with 83, and gives the Lady Lakers a second returning hitter. She will be a key in the middle. Shelby Kurtz (defensive specialist/libero) spent time between junior varsity and varsity last year and will be a key part of varsity this year.
Seniors Sabrina Schesnol (right side) and Lauryn Hulett (right side) both had strong junior varsity seasons last year and be expected to contribute on varsity last season. Junior Karli Wolfe (middle hitter) and sophomore Sydney Smith (setter/outside hitter) are two more players to watch.
Camdenton will look to climb up the Ozark Conference standings and make a run in the postseason.
“The Ozark Conference is always tough. My expectations for our club are the be in the top half of the conference and redeem ourselves from last postseason,” Walker said. “We have a solid group of players that started to mesh well towards the end of the summer. They want to win, they want to compete and they are not going to back down from someone.”
Camdenton opens the season on Aug. 27 at Republic.