By Chris Parker
Hillcrest has a new head coach, but it is a familiar name in Springfield volleyball as Deirdre Smith takes over as the head coach of the Lady Hornets. Smith is a veteran of coaching in the area. She was the Springfield Catholic head coach from 2013-16. In addition, she spent 19 years as the head coach at Reed Academy Middle School, three years as a junior varsity coach at Parkview and 18 years as a head club volleyball coach.
“I coached at Reed Academy for 19 years, and the athletes from Reed feed into Hillcrest. Both Reed & Pleasant View middle schools are sending strong groups to the high school, and I believe the Hillcrest volleyball program will continue to grow,” Smith said.
Hillcrest will be a young team looking to improve upon a two-win 2018.
Senior Madison Letterman (right side hitter) and junior Macy Baker (outside hitter) will be two leaders for Hillcrest this season. Letterman was the team’s leader in assists last year with 97. Baker was third on the team with 53 kills.
Juniors Cassidy Pentecost (setter) and Ashlynn Van Horn (libero/defensive specialist) will be key pieces of the varsity lineup as well. Pentecost is strong in the serving game after leading Hillcrest with 26 aces last year. Van Horn was second on the team in digs with 236 in 2018.
Smith will have a trio freshmen in Tori McCullough, Mackenzie Smith and Melanie Barrett pushing for varsity playing time this year.
“We are young, and in the process of building what proves to be a successful volleyball program. I expect the girls to have a winning season,” Smith said.
Hillcrest will travel to School of the Osage for a jamboree on Aug. 26 before opening the regular season on Sept. 3 at Willow Springs.