By Chris Parker
Shawna Bybee enters her second season as the head coach of Skyline coming off a 16-14 season in her first season.
The Lady Tigers will have to replace two graduated all-conference seniors in first-team setter Chloe Cole and second-team hitter Martina Potter. Cole is now playing collegiately at Central Methodist.
“I will miss Chloe’s speed on the court. When I thought a ball was going to drop, Chloe was there. I really depended on her as a setter to lead the offensive side,” Bybee said. “Martina’s height is going to be missed on our court, she could come in with a big swing in a crucial game or her blocks.”
Skyline has been working hard in the summer to replace those two key pieces.
“This offseason we have really focused on our transition up to the net, being fast on the court, and covering each other as teammates,” Bybee said. “We have a lot of new faces on the varsity team, but we also have girls that saw varsity time.”
Four players that saw significant time last year return led by senior middle hitters Kylie Craig and Abby Grisham. Angelina Curtis will be a defensive specialist and outside hitter in her sophomore year. Ella Dougherty will serve as a setter and defensive specialist.
While these four bring back experience on the court, no spot is guaranteed.
“I also tell my team we do not have a set of starters because you either have to continue to work to start or become a starter,” Bybee said. “These four have done a great job but they need to continue to work hard because the underclassmen are really pushing it this summer.”
A host of players are competing for varsity time for Skyline. That includes: juniors Allison Nothnagel, Madasyn Haynes, Emmy Wilson and Tanaya Holt along with sophomores Hayley Jones, Destiny Holt, Bayleigh Hungziger, Camisha Payne, Leah King and Abigail Nothnagel.
In addition, the biggest class of players is the freshmen class which includes: Alyee Gunter, Jaden Foster, Jordan Hodges, Maryn Curnett, KeShawna Wilson and Ashlyn Eidson.
Skyline will compete in a Mid-Lakes Conference that has a little different look this year. Ash Grove, Marionville and Pleasant Hope left the conference while Clever and Forsyth come in from the SWCL.
“Their success this year will be determined on how bad they want to win in a tough conference and district,” Bybee said. “We are going to be a smaller team, and will have to work to make other teams tired. We will have to work to keep the ball up and be fast on our first steps. We really need to come together as a family and play for each other. These girls have done a great job at this during the summer and need to continue that during season.”
Skyline opens the season on Aug. 27 at home against Windsor.