By Chris Parker
Amy Medlin takes over a Crane volleyball program that has a lot of promise after winning 21 games and finishing district runner-up a year ago.
“I love coaching and the interaction with my players. I was the assistant coach last year and when I was asked if I would be willing to move to the head coaching position, I was thrilled!” Medlin said.
She has one of the area’s best athletes returning to lead the squad in senior Madison Hicks. Hicks, who is also a basketball and track standout, was a first-team all-conference selection on the volleyball court. She earned that honor by putting down 265 kills and accounting for 66 blocks from her middle hitter/blocker position.
“Madison is a huge threat at the net. She is such a hard worker and leads by example on the court,” Medlin said. “She will be playing all the way around as her defense is a great asset to our team.”
The offensive attack will have even more stability thanks to the return of senior setter Sadie McMenamy who had 511 of Crane’s 539 assists last year. The returning second-team all-conference selection will also do some hitting this season.
“Sadie is another strong player that we are fortunate to have. Her speed and athleticism are key to her position,” Medlin said. “She is also a great hitter! I look forward to her taking advantage of that this year. Her consistent serving is critical for our team.”
Mackinzie Funcannon gives Crane a third returning all-conference selection at libero. She had 531 digs and 448 serve-receives last year. Both numbers led the Lady Pirates.
“Mackinzie is our most seasoned defensive player,” Medlin said. “She is the leader on the back row and continues to improve. She is so helpful to her teammates and is always willing to explain defensive positions to the underclassmen.”
Senior Olivia Edwards will be another leader on the court. She is a consistent server and strong outside hitter.
“I have high expectations for this team lead by four outstanding seniors,” Medlin said. “What we lack in height we make up for in speed and grit. I feel like we have a great possibility of winning our district and moving on into post season play.”
Crane opens the season on Aug. 27 at Monett.