Camdenton, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- One year after going 15-13-2 overall and 5-4 in the Ozark Conference, second-year Camdenton head coach Austin Walker isn't sure exactly what she's got in 2013.
"We finished a little over .500 which was good for us," Walker said. "My first year, trying to implement my style of coaching and everything, we had some rough patches trying to get used to the transition and everything. But, I had a blast and the girls that I had as seniors were awsome.
"I really liked being around them."
Camdenton returns senior Hannah Gehner, a middle hitter. Gehner played in 61 of 64 possible matches last season and finished tied for third on the Lakers with 78 kills and second with 29 blocks.
"We are going to rely heavily on her," Walker said.
Camdenton will have three additional seniors, including Abby Moulder, a setter, Kailey Lembke, a hitter who can play on both the left and right side, and Morgan Laufer, a middle hitter.
Also in the varsity mix are juniors Josie and Paully Dinsdale, sophomore Hanna Lowther, juniors Kirstin Thompson and Schae VanderPloeg and freshman Daphne Dinsdale.
"This summer, the girls have done a lot better job of buying in and showing up to things and they know now what I expect after a year of them," Walker said. "If you want to play you have to prove to me that you want to be with us and this program. If you prove that you want to be there, then I'll give you the time."
Walker said the team doesn't have a lot of experience entering the upcoming season, and might be behind the eight-ball early on.
"We play in the Ozark Conference, which I believe is one of the toughest conferences in the state," Walker said. "You have your Springfield schools, which play club volleyball during the summer and they are way ahead of us.
"We are playing catch-up and hoping by August we can get closer with each game by the end of the season and be rolling by districts."
A standout player at both Lebanon High School and Drury University, Walker (formerly Austin Warren) said she has been learning the ins and outs of being a high school head coach in the Ozark Conference on the job.
"I think building relationships with the kids is the most important thing that I've learned," Walker said. "The kids learn to trust me and know that I will be there for them and I will work my but off for them if they will do it in return for me.
"I think I get a lot more out of the girls. I've really had to adjust and learn that each kid learns differently. Not every kid is the same ... My first year of being a varsity coach was a learning experience and I didn't know exactly what to expect.
"But this year, I've got more of a grasp on things."
Today I was planning on telling you about how much I enjoy watching this year's Wichita State team, but why they don't deserve a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
But, Saturday happened.
Mar. 8, 2014 may have been the most spectacular day of...
It's March, which means it is time for madness. Last week we saw small-schools wrap up district play and there was no shortage of upsets, big-time performances, and history being made. Expect the same this week with the big schools. Here is my breakdown...
I felt pretty comfortable predicting the district tournaments for small-school girls' basketball last week. Most tournaments either had a clear-cut, overwhelming favorite, or only one or two teams capable of putting together three straight solid...