By Chris Parker
Sparta volleyball went 12-17 last year, which was the most wins for the program since 2014 when the Lady Trojans won the program’s last district title.
Sophomore outside hitter Megan Brown is the lone returning all-conference player for Sparta. She was named honorable mention all-conference last season.
“(She) has played some club this winter and continues to show relentless movement on the floor,” Sparta head coach Nicole Humble said. “(I am) excited to see her accomplishments this year.”
Junior Autumn Brynildson returns to her setter position. Sophomore Natalie Wilks is back as a middle.
Baylee Williams could do big things in her junior year after showing a lot of promise in her first season playing as a sophomore.
“Baylee came to us last year and joined the JV team but at the end of the season picked up some varsity time,” Humble said. “I am looking forward to seeing her mesh with those returning varsity players.”
Junior Aysha Fulton and sophomore Hailey Bumgarner (defensive specialist) will be two more players with big varsity roles.
“We have a long list of girls who will be competing for varsity positions this year after losing a significant amount of seniors,” Humble said. “I have seen a few of my returning JV players in the gym this year Gracie Ramos, Madeline Hodges, Emma Jemes, Rylea York and they are working hard. We should have a solid varsity and JV team this season which is exciting. Not only do I have several girls returning who will be sophomores and juniors but a good group of incoming freshmen as well. As eighth graders their season was cut short but the COVID-19 pandemic but they were on the road to a great season. I am excited to have all of these girls in the gym as they will push each other to be better. They are a great group of kids and we have a ton of fun.”
Humble will hope to find some leadership in the junior class with no seniors on this year’s team.
“Our team will be very young this year. After graduating seven seniors, and having zero seniors for 2020 there will be a gap in leadership on the team. I am hopeful that we have some juniors that will step up and take that role as we begin the season,” Humble said. “I hope to settle into a top spot in our conference this year. Competitiveness is not something we lack as players or myself as the coach, so we are going to work hard every day to improve and give it a go.”
Sparta opens the season on Sept. 3 at Ava.