By Chris Parker
Marionville volleyball will look to improve on last season’s five-win campaign with a good mix of youth and experience in the fold.
Senior Alyssa White will return at setter. White, the lone returning senior, led Marionville with 214 assists last year.
“She (White) is an excellent leader,” Marionville head coach Brandy Glessner said. “She has incredible passion for the game, and she holds herself and everyone around her to a high standard, by attending everything possible, pushing herself, and always communicating with her coaches and teammates.”
A trio of returning juniors in Shelby Webb, Madison Essary and Emma Barrickman will help round out the returning upperclassmen.
Webb, a middle, led the Lady Comets in blocks with 37 while finishing second in kills (81) and aces (27).
“She (Webb) has bought into the positive energy and high intensity that my assistant coach and I expect,” Glessner said. “She has elevated her communication and positivity to encourage her teammates. Shelby was a powerful block for us last season, I consistently see her getting stronger.”
Essary had 69 kills last season, which was third on the team, while contributing 21 blocks.
“Madison is a great all-around athlete and she has the potential to play many positions this season,” Glessner said. “I hope that her coachability and determination to excel at every task will be contagious in our program, and we love her energy and excitement during play.”
Barrickman will key the Marionville defense as a defensive specialist. She contributed 150 digs and 140 serve-receives last year.
“Emma’s control and focus on the court has come leaps and bounds from the beginning of last season,” Glessner said. “Every time she is on the court I can see her drive to be better. This mentality will allow her to work for some exposure on the front row as well as defense on back row.”
Glessner expects a strong freshman group to make an immediate impact.
“Our freshman class has already proved themselves to be a driven, no nonsense group of girls,” Glessner said. “They have a perfect balance of competitiveness and encouragement to challenge each other to be better, and I know that mindset will only benefit our program.”
The on-going COVID-19 pandemic has and continues to provide obstacles in all aspects of life. Glessner and the Lady Comets are trying to focus on the things they can control.
“The changes and loss of time in the spring has been an obstacle for all teams I’m sure, but if coaches and leaders keep a positive outlook, then the girls will follow in that perspective. As a coach, I can provide an example, but our success, like in any other program, will depend on the players willingness to put in the extra work to offset the obstacles we’ve already and likely still will encounter,” Glessner said.
Marionville will open the season on Aug. 29 at the Verona Tournament.
“I expect to have high levels of competition within my program,” Glessner said. “We have many athletes who can play many positions, so I will expect my girls to work hard for their spot on the court. This competitiveness in practice will prepare us to play hard against strong opponents.